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Competing crayfish in crisis!

A recent paper by Cripes members Jo James, Rhidian Thomas and Prof Jo Cable and collaborators, has shown that the introduction of a relatively new non-native species, the virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis) may be bad news for the established signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) in the River Lea, London. The virile crayfish is thought to have been introduced to this river via the aquarium trade.

By combining field data and a series of laboratory studies, the study shows that virile crayfish are competitively dominant, are better at acquiring resources, and may reduce the abundance of signal crayfish in areas where they cohabit.

Critically, this study highlights the need to be aware of the dangers of releasing non-native organisms to the environment.

Read the paper, published in Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10236244.2015.1109181

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Signal crayfish

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