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Ecology of the native and introduced crayfishesAustropotamobius pallipesandProcambarus clarkiiin southern Spain and implications for conservation of the native species

Biological Conservation
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0006-3207(01)00205-1
  • Austrapotamobius Pallipes
  • Conservation
  • Ecological Factors
  • Procambarus Clarkii
  • Southern Europe
  • Spain
  • Medicine


Abstract The former and present distribution of white clawed crayfish ( Austropotamobius pallipes) in the province of Granada (southern Spain) is studied. Before 1980 it was widely distributed but at present only 16 populations exist. The decline is related to the presence of the freshwater red-swamp crayfish ( Procambarus clarkii), an American species, vector of the aphanomycosis disease, introduced to the Iberian Peninsula in 1974 and now widely distributed in the watercourses and marshes of southern Spain. To establish an appropriate conservation policy for A. pallipes at its southernmost distribution limit, we studied watercourses from two river basins, Genil and Guadiana Menor, (tributaries of the Guadalquivir River). P. clarkii inhabits the medium to lower reaches of these two river basins (with its upper limit at 820 m a.s.l.). The distribution of this species was best explained by the effect of three of the 12 analyzed variables: altitude, water-current and minimum winter temperatures. From our results, the repopulation of the native crayfish is almost impossible in those reaches inhabited by P. clarkii. However, based on the habitat selection study, it is clear that upper reaches are unsuitable for the red-swamp crayfish, where the native white-clawed crayfish may have greater survival possibilities, and these sites can be used for future restocking projects.

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