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 virginalis or Procambarus fallax f. 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.
View Marmorkrebs introductions in a larger map
Marmorkrebs blog. Award-winning science writing!
The portal for the complete Marmorkrebs genome is at http://marmorkrebs.dkfz.de/.
Colonies and stocks
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).
Forthcoming research papers
Gutekunst J, Andriantsoa R, Falckenhayn C, Hanna K, Stein W, Rasamy J, Lyko F. 2018. Clonal genome evolution and rapid invasive spread of the marbled crayfish. Nature Ecology and Evolution: in press. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0467-9
Nentwig W, Bacher S, Kumschick S, Pyšek P, Vilŕ M. More than “100 worst” alien species in Europe. Biological Invasions. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1651-6
Scholz S, Richter S, Wirkner CS. Constant morphological patterns in the hemolymph vascular system of crayfish (Crustacea, Decapoda). Arthropod Structure & Development: in press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asd.2017.12.005
Vogt G. Investigating the genetic and epigenetic basis of big biological questions with the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish: A review and perspectives. Journal of Biosciences: in press. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12038-018-9741-x
Weiperth A, Gál B, Kuříková P, Langrová I, Kouba A, Patoka J. Risk assessment of pet-traded decapod crustaceans in Hungary with evidence of Cherax quadricarinatus (von Martens, 1868) in the wild. North–Western Journal of Zoology: in press, e171303. http://biozoojournals.ro/nwjz/content/acc/nwjz_e171303_Weiperth_acc.pdf
2018 research papers
Císar P, Saberioon M, Kozák P, Pautsina A. 2018. Fully contactless system for crayfish heartbeat monitoring: undisturbed crayfish as bio-indicator. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 255(1): 29-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.snb.2017.07.160
Maguire I, Klobucar G, Žganec K, Jelic M, Lucic A, Hudina S. 2018. Recent changes in distribution pattern of freshwater crayfish in Croatia - threats and perspectives. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 419: 2. https://doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2017053
2017 research papers
Benson A, Stadele C, Gahrs C, Vidal-Gadea A, Stein W. 2017. Behavioral consequences of RNA-mediated suppression of innexin expression in marbled crayfish. Illinois State University graduate student symposium. Normal, Illinois, March 2017. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bbd8/0f8501fcf81c0605a61fc6cd1622f983f12f.pdf (Abstract only)
Biffis C. 2017. Comparative studies in the development of the nervous system in malacostracan crustaceans. Doctoral dissertation, Biology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. https://doi.org/10.18452/18061
Chucholl C, Wendler F. 2017. Positive selection of beautiful invaders: long-term persistence and bio-invasion risk of freshwater crayfish in the pet trade. Biological Invasions 19(1): 197-208. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-016-1272-5
Gutekunst J. 2017. Clonal genome evolution of the marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis. Doctoral thesis, Combined Faculties of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Ruperto-Carola University Heidelberg. Heidelberg, Germany. 88 pp. https://doi.org/10.11588/heidok.00023501
Koutnik D, Stara A, Zuskova E, Kouba A, Velisek J. 2017. The chronic effects of terbuthylazine-2-hydroxy on early life stages of marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis). Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 136: 29-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pestbp.2016.08.008
Kukule Kankanamge M. 2017. Analysis of chitinase activity. Master’s thesis, Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1498843764486231
Levy T, Rosen O, Simons O, Alkalay AS, Sagi A. 2017. The gene encoding the insulin-like androgenic gland hormone in an all-female parthenogenetic crayfish. PLOS ONE 12(12): e0189982. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189982
Lipták B, Mojžišová M, Grula D, Christophoryová J, Jablonski D, Bláha M, Petrusek A, Kouba A. 2017. Slovak section of the Danube has its well-established breeding ground of marbled crayfish Procambarus fallax f. virginalis. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 418: 40. https://doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2017029
Lyko F. 2017. Ein Krebs für die Krebsforschung. Biologie in unserer Zeit 47(3): 172–177. https://doi.org/10.1002/biuz.201710620
Lyko F. 2017. The marbled crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) represents an independent new species. Zootaxa 4363(4): 544-552. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4363.4.6
Marenkov O, Holoborodko K, Voronkova Y, Gorban V. 2017. Effect of zinc and cadmium ions on histostructure of antennal glands of marbled crayfish Procambarus fallax (Hagen, 1870) f. virginalis (Decapoda). Acta Biologica Universitatis Daugavpiliensis 17(2): 219–224. http://sciences.lv/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Marenkov.pdf
Oleh M, Julia K, Zoya S, Olexandra N, Oleh N, Bogdan D. 2017. Parameters of the histological adaptation of Marmorkrebs Procambarus fallax f. virginal (sic) (Decapoda, Cambaridae) to zinc and cadmium ions pollution. World Scientific News 90: 189-202. http://www.worldscientificnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/WSN-90-2017-189-202.pdf
Pârvulescu L, Togor A, Lele S-F, Scheu S, Şinca D, Panteleit J. 2017. First established population of marbled crayfish Procambarus fallax (Hagen, 1870) f. virginalis (Decapoda, Cambaridae) in Romania. BioInvasions Records 6(4): 357-362. https://doi.org/10.3391/bir.2017.6.4.09
Penk M, Saul W-C, Dick JTA, Donohue I, Alexander ME, Linzmaier S, Jeschke JM. A trophic interaction framework for identifying the invasive capacity of novel organisms. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 8(12): 1786–1794. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12817
Shiratori C, Suzuki N, Momohara Y, Shiraishi K, Aonuma H, Nagayama T. 2017. Cyclic AMP-regulated opposing and parallel effects of serotonin and dopamine on phototaxis in the Marmorkrebs (marbled crayfish). European Journal of Neuroscience 46(3): 1863–1874. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13632
Uderbayev T, Patoka J, Beisembayev R, Petrtý M, Bláha M, Kouba A. 2017. Risk assessment of pet-traded decapod crustaceans in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the leading country in Central Asia. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 418: 30. https://doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2017018
Velisek J, Stara A, Zuskova E, Kouba A. 2017. Effects of three triazine metabolites and their mixture at environmentally relevant concentrations on early life stages of marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis). Chemosphere 175: 440-445. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.02.080
Veselý L, Boukal DS, Buric M, Kozák P, Kouba A, Sentis A. 2017. Effects of prey density, temperature and predator diversity on nonconsumptive predator-driven mortality in a freshwater food web. Scientific Reports 7: 18075. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17998-4
Vodovsky N, Patoka J, Kouba A. 2017. Ecosystem of Caspian Sea threatened by pet-traded non-indigenous crayfish. Biological Invasions 19(7): 2207-2217 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1433-1
Vogt G. 2017. Facilitation of environmental adaptation and evolution by epigenetic phenotype variation: insights from clonal, invasive, polyploid, and domesticated animals. Environmental Epigenetics 3(1): dvx002. https://doi.org/10.1093/eep/dvx002
For more research papers, click here.
Anonymous. 2007. British crayfish could be wiped out by alien species with the plague. The Daily Mail. 28 June 2007.
Anonymous. 2016. Cangrejo mármol, una curiosa especie invasora con dos caras. Real Jardín Botánico press release. 8 September 2016. http://www.rjb.csic.es/jardinbotanico/jardin/contenido.php?Pag=236&tipo=noticia&cod=5283
Coghlan A. 2003. Crayfish clones poised to invade European waters. New Scientist 2383 (22 February 2003).
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.
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.
Fujiie H. 2017. War urged to destroy alien cloning mystery crayfish. The Asahi Shimbun (Japanese newspaper) news story. 13 April 2017. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201704130011.html
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.
Horton J. 2013. Scots wildlife at risk from alien crayfish breeds. The Scotsman. 21 April 2013.
Linzmaier S. 2016. Vom Aquarium in den See. Verbundjournal 106: 14-15.
Löwe K. 2010. Gefahr aus dem Aquarium. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (Central German Newspaper) news story. 13 October 2010.
Pennisi E. 2015. Crayfish create a new species of female ‘superclones’. Science News ScienceShots. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aad1673
Privenau K. 2010. Marmorkrebs bringt Pest. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (Central German Newspaper) news story. 12 October 2010.
Robbins M. 2009. Owning clones. Tropical Fish Hobbyist 57(7): 72-74.
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. 2012. Discovery of marbled crayfish creates concern.
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. 2013. First analysis of marbled crayfish completed.
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 17 February 2018.