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Adult Marmorkrebs

What are Marmorkrebs?

“Marmorkrebs” is an informal name given to marbled crayfish that were discovered by hobbyists in Germany in the late 1990s.

Marmorkrebs are parthenogenetic: they are all females, and reproduce without sex. This is the only decapod crustacean found that reproduces only this way, giving it incredible potential as a model organism for research. Some of the advantages of Marmorkrebs are that they are genetically identical, reproduce at high rates, and are easy to care for.

“Marmorkrebs” roughly translates from German as “marbled crab.” The scientific name for Marmorkrebs is Procambarus fallax f. virginalis or Procambarus virginalis; they are an asexual relative of slough crayfish (P. fallax) that live across Florida and southern Georgia in the United States. There are no known native populations of Marmorkrebs in North America; the only known cases of them in the wild are where they have been introduced by humans.

Marmorkrebs are also an invasive species. They have been introducted in many places, and have established populations in at least three countries, damaging agriculture and threatening native species. Marmorkrebs should not be used for bait (see here), kept in outdoor tanks or ponds (Marmorkrebs can migrate over land; see here), or placed in any other situation where they could be released into natural ecosystems. In North America, Marmorkrebs are prohibited in Missouri (since 2011) and Tennessee (since 2015). The European Union banned possession, trade, transport, production, and release of Marmorkrebs (and several other crayfish species) in 2016.


Marmorkrebs introductions


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Timeline


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Marmorkrebs blog. Award-winning science writing! Updates roughly weekly, usually Tuesday.

 


Research

Colonies and stocks

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North American researchers can contact Zen Faulkes to get Marmorkrebs for research. Establishment of the Faulkes lab Marmorkrebs colony was supported by the National Science Foundation (award 0813581).

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Forthcoming research papers

Chucholl C. The bad and the super-bad: prioritising the threat of six invasive alien to three imperilled native crayfishes. Biological Invasions: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-016-1141-2

Open Access Lipták B, Mrugala A, Pekárik L, Mutkovic A, Grula D, Petrusek A, Kouba A. Expansion of the marbled crayfish in Slovakia: beginning of an invasion in the Danube catchment? Journal of Limnology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/jlimnol.2016.1313

2016 research papers

Chucholl C. 2016. Marbled crayfish gaining ground in Europe: the role of the pet trade as invasion pathway. In: T Kawai, Z Faulkes, G Scholtz, eds. Freshwater Crayfish: A Global Overview, pp. 83-114. Boca Raton: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Freshwater-Crayfish-A-Global-Overview/Kawai-Faulkes-Scholtz/9781466586390

Faulkes Z. 2016. Marble crayfish as a new model organism and a new threat to native crayfish conservation. In: T Kawai, Z Faulkes, G Scholtz, eds. Freshwater Crayfish: A Global Overview, pp. 31-53. Boca Raton: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Freshwater-Crayfish-A-Global-Overview/Kawai-Faulkes-Scholtz/9781466586390

Feria TP, Faulkes Z. 2016. Predicting the distribution of crayfish species: a case study using marble crayfish. In: T Kawai, Z Faulkes, G Scholtz, eds. Freshwater Crayfish: A Global Overview, pp. 13-30. Boca Raton: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Freshwater-Crayfish-A-Global-Overview/Kawai-Faulkes-Scholtz/9781466586390

Kaldre K, Meženin A, Paaver T, Kawai T. 2016. A preliminary study on the tolerance of marble crayfish Procambarus fallax f. virginalis to low temperature in Nordic climate. In: T Kawai, Z Faulkes, G Scholtz, eds. Freshwater Crayfish: A Global Overview, pp. 54-62. Boca Raton: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Freshwater-Crayfish-A-Global-Overview/Kawai-Faulkes-Scholtz/9781466586390

Kasuya A, Nagayama T. 2016. Habituation of backward escape swimming in the marbled crayfish. Zoological Science 33(1): 6-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.2108/zs150099

Korša A. 2016. Epifauna on freshwater crayfish (Crustacea: Decapoda) in Croatia. Master's thesis, Department of Biology, University of Zagreb.http://digre.pmf.unizg.hr/id/eprint/4635

NewOpen Access Kouba A, Tíkal J, Císar P, Veselý L, Fort M, Príborský J, Patoka J, Buric M. 2016. The significance of droughts for hyporheic dwellers: evidence from freshwater crayfish. Scientific Reports 6: 26569. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep26569

Open Access Lokkös A, Müller T, Kovács K, Várkonyi L, Specziár A, Martin P. 2016. The alien, parthenogenetic marbled crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) is entering Kis-Balaton (Hungary), one of Europe’s most important wetland biotopes. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 417: 16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2016003

Martin P. 2016. Parthenogenesis: mechanisms, evolution, and its relevance to the role of marbled crayfish as model organism and potential invader. In: T Kawai, Z Faulkes, G Scholtz, eds. Freshwater Crayfish: A Global Overview, pp. 63-82. Boca Raton: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Freshwater-Crayfish-A-Global-Overview/Kawai-Faulkes-Scholtz/9781466586390

Martin P, Thonagel S, Scholtz G. 2016. The parthenogenetic Marmorkrebs (Malacostraca: Decapoda: Cambaridae) is a triploid organism. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 54(1): 13-21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jzs.12114

Open Access Novitsky RA, Son MO. 2016. The first records of Marmorkrebs [Procambarus fallax (Hagen, 1870) f. virginalis] (Crustacea, Decapoda, Cambaridae) in Ukraine. Ecologica Montenegrina 5: 44-46. http://www.biotaxa.org/em/article/view/19706/19060

Scholtz G. 2016. Happy birthday! The first decade of Marmorkrebs research—results and perspectives. In: T Kawai, Z Faulkes, G Scholtz, eds. Freshwater Crayfish: A Global Overview, pp. 3-12. Boca Raton: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Freshwater-Crayfish-A-Global-Overview/Kawai-Faulkes-Scholtz/9781466586390

Vogt G. 2016. Research on stem cells, aging, cancer resistance, and epigenetics in marbled crayfish and relatives: potential benefits for human biology and medicine. In: T Kawai, Z Faulkes, G Scholtz, eds. Freshwater Crayfish: A Global Overview, pp. 115-157. Boca Raton: CRC Press. https://www.crcpress.com/Freshwater-Crayfish-A-Global-Overview/Kawai-Faulkes-Scholtz/9781466586390

Open Access Vogt G. 2016. Fate of glair glands and oocytes in unmated crayfish: a comparison between gonochoristic slough crayfish and parthenogenetic marbled crayfish. BioRxiv: 8 April 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/047654 [Pre-print]

2015 research papers

Open Access Faulkes Z. 2015. A bomb set to drop: parthenogenetic Marmorkrebs for sale in Ireland, a European location without non-indigenous crayfish. Management of Biological Invasions 6(1): 111-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.3391/mbi.2015.6.1.09

Open Access Faulkes Z. 2015. Marmorkrebs (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis) are the most popular crayfish in the North American pet trade. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 416: 20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2015016
Supplemental info: Faulkes Z. 2015. Crayfish pet trade in North America. figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1478015

Gutekunst J, Falckenhayn C, Raddatz G, Lyko F. 2015. Assembly and annotation of the marbled crayfish genome. Poster presented Ninth Annual Arthropod Genomics Symposium, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 17-19 June 2015. Abstract and program book, p. 23. http://www.k-state.edu/agc/images/symposium/Abstracts-ProgramBook.pdf [Conference abstract]

Harzsch S, Krieger J, Faulkes Z. 2015. “Crustacea”: Decapoda – Astacida. In: A Wanninger (ed.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology of Invertebrates 4: Ecdysozoa II: Crustacea, pp. 101-151. Springer Vienna: Wien. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-7091-1853-5_4

Open Access Jirikowski G, Wolff C, Richter S. 2015. Evolution of eumalacostracan development—new insights into loss and reacquisition of larval stages revealed by heterochrony analysis. EvoDevo 6(1): 4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2041-9139-6-4

Kaldre K, Haugjärv K, Liiva M, Gross R. 2015. The effect of two different feeds on growth, carapace colour, maturation and mortality in marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis). Aquaculture International 23(1): 185-194. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10499-014-9807-1

New Kato M, Hiruta C, Tochinai S. 2015. Androgenic gland implantation induces partial masculinization in Marmorkrebs Procambarus fallax f. virginalis. Zoological Science 32(5): 459-464. http://dx.doi.org/10.2108/zs150028

Kenning M, Lehmann P, Lindstrom M, Harzsch S. 2015. Heading which way? Y-maze chemical assays: not all crustaceans are alike. Helgoland Marine Research 69(3): 305-311. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10152-015-0435-6

Lyko F. 2015. DNA methylation patterns of arthropod genomes. Presentation given at Ninth Annual Arthropod Genomics Symposium, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 17-19 June 2015. Abstract and program book, p. 11. http://www.k-state.edu/agc/images/symposium/Abstracts-ProgramBook.pdf [Conference abstract]

Mrugała A, Kozubíková-Balcarová E, Chucholl C, Cabanillas Resino S, Viljamaa-Dirks S, Vukić J, Petrusek A. 2015. Trade of ornamental crayfish in Europe as a possible introduction pathway for important crustacean diseases: crayfish plague and white spot syndrome. Biological Invasions 17(5): 1313-1326. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-014-0795-x

Open Access Patoka J, Kalous L, Kopecký O. 2015. Imports of ornamental crayfish: the first decade from the Czech Republic’s perspective. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 416: 04. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2014040

Shen H, Braband A, Scholtz G. 2015. The complete mitogenomes of lobsters and crayfish (Crustacea: Decapoda: Astacidea) reveal surprising differences in closely related taxa and convergences to Priapulida. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 53(4): 273–281. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jzs.12106

Vogt G. 2015. Stochastic developmental variation, an epigenetic source of phenotypic diversity with far-reaching biological consequences. Journal of Biosciences 41(1): 159-204. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12038-015-9506-8

New Vogt G. 2015. Bimodal annual reproduction pattern in laboratory-reared marbled crayfish. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development 59(4): 218-223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07924259.2015.1089329

Open Access Vogt G, Falckenhayn C, Schrimpf A, Schmid K, Hanna K, Panteleit J, Helm M, Schulz R, Lyko F. 2015. The marbled crayfish as a paradigm for saltational speciation by autopolyploidy and parthenogenesis in animals. BioRxiv: 23 August 2015.

NewOpen Access Veselý L, Buric M, Kouba A. 2015. Hardy exotics species in temperate zone: can “warm water” crayfish invaders establish regardless of low temperatures? Scientific Reports 5: 16340. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep16340

NewOpen Access Vogt G, Falckenhayn C, Schrimpf A, Schmid K, Hanna K, Panteleit J, Helm M, Schulz R, Lyko F. 2015. The marbled crayfish as a paradigm for saltational speciation by autopolyploidy and parthenogenesis in animals. Biology Open 4(11): 1583-1594. http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/bio.014241

For more research papers, click here.


Popular press

Tropical_Fish_Hobbyist_March_2009 (78K)

Anonymous. 2007. British crayfish could be wiped out by alien species with the plague. The Daily Mail. 28 June 2007.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-464965/British-crayfish-wiped-alien-species-plague.html

Coghlan A. 2003. Crayfish clones poised to invade European waters. New Scientist 2383 (22 February 2003).
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17723830.900-crayfish-clones-poised-to-invade-european-waters.html

Faulkes Z. 2009. How Marmorkrebs can make the world a better place. In: Rohn J (ed.), Grant RP (deputy ed.), Zivkovic B (series ed.), The Open Laboratory: The Best In Science Writing On Blogs 2008, pp. 86-87. Coturnix: Chapel Hill.
http://www.lulu.com/content/6110823
Original post: http://marmorkrebs.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-marmorkrebs-can-make-world-better.html

Faulkes Z. 2011. The decade the clones came. In: Goldman JG (ed.), Zivkovic B (series ed.), The Open Laboratory: The Best of Science Writing on the Web 2010, pp. 151-156. Coturnix: Chapel Hill.
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-open-laboratory-2010/15156343
Original post: http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=the-decade-the-clones-came-beware-t-2010-11-29

German Cancer Research Center. 2015. A cray-active solution for cancer research. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-11-cray-active-solution-cancer.html

Heimer K. 2010. Invasion of self-cloning crayfish alarms Madagascar. Deutsche Presse-Agentur wire story.
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/339974,alarms-madagascar-feature.html

Horton J. 2013. Scots wildlife at risk from alien crayfish breeds. The Scotsman. 21 April 2013.
http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/scotland/scots-wildlife-at-risk-from-alien-crayfish-breeds-1-2904005

Löwe K. 2010. Gefahr aus dem Aquarium. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (Central German Newspaper) news story. 13 October 2010.
http://www.mz-web.de/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=ksta/page&atype=ksArtikel&aid=1286541137817&calledPageId=987490165154.

New Pennisi E. 2015. Crayfish create a new species of female ‘superclones’. Science News ScienceShots. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aad1673

Privenau K. 2010. Marmorkrebs bringt Pest. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (Central German Newspaper) news story. 12 October 2010.
http://www.mz-web.de/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=ksta/page&atype=ksArtikel&aid=1286541132341&calledPageId=987490165154

Robbins M. 2009. Owning clones. Tropical Fish Hobbyist 57(7): 72-74.
http://www.tfhmagazine.com/freshwater/feature-articles/owning-clones.htm

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. 2012. Discovery of marbled crayfish creates concern.
https://www.havochvatten.se/en/start/about-us/press-and-media/press-releases/press-releases/12-5-2012-discovery-of-marbled-crayfish-creates-concern.html

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. 2013. First analysis of marbled crayfish completed.
https://www.havochvatten.se/en/start/about-us/press-and-media/press-releases/press-releases/12-5-2012-discovery-of-marbled-crayfish-creates-concern.html


Laws

Missouri has added Marmorkrebs to its prohibited species list, effective 1 March 2011. Read more here. Tennessee designated Marmorkrebs as “Class V wildlife,” meaning they can only be kept by zoos, effective October 2015. Read more here and here.


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This work by Zen Faulkes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

This site maintained by Zen Faulkes. Last updated 31 May 2016.