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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, Wendler F. Positive selection of beautiful invaders: long-term persistence and bio-invasion risk of freshwater crayfish in the pet trade. Biological Invasions: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-016-1272-5

Koutnik D, Stara A, Zuskova E, Kouba A, Velisek J. The chronic effects of terbuthylazine-2-hydroxy on early life stages of marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis). Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pestbp.2016.08.008

2016 research papers

Chatila Z. 2016. Lentiviral GFP transfection of the parthenogenic crayfish species, Procambarus fallax: a tool for examining the source of neural precursor cells in crayfish. Undergraduate honors thesis, Neuroscience, Wellesley College. http://repository.wellesley.edu/thesiscollection/345/ (Full thesis embargoed until April 2018.)

Chucholl C. 2016a. 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

Chucholl C. 2016b. The bad and the super-bad: prioritising the threat of six invasive alien to three imperilled native crayfishes. Biological Invasions 18(7): 1967-1988. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-016-1141-2

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

Jackson CJ. 2016. Characterization of locomotor response to psychostimulants in the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax forma virginalis): a promising model for studying the epigenetics of addiction. Master’s thesis, Department of Biology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file?accession=bgsu1467967151&disposition=inline

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

New Kawai T, Crandall KA. 2016. Global diversity and conservation of freshwater crayfish (Crustacea: Decapoda: Astacoidea). In: Kawai T, Cumberlidge N (eds.), A Global Overview of the Conservation of Freshwater Decapod Crustaceans, pp. 65-114. Springer International Publishing: Cham. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42527-6_3

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

Kato M, Hiruta C, Tochinai S. 2016. The behavior of chromosomes during parthenogenetic oogenesis in Marmorkrebs Procambarus fallax f. virginalis. Zoological Science 33(4): 426-430. http://dx.doi.org/10.2108/zs160018

Open 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 Kotovska G, Khrystenko D, Patoka J, Kouba A. 2016. East European crayfish stocks at risk: arrival of non-indigenous crayfish species. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 417: 37. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2016024

Open Access Lipták B, Mrugala A, Pekárik L, Mutkovic A, Grula D, Petrusek A, Kouba A. 2016. Expansion of the marbled crayfish in Slovakia: beginning of an invasion in the Danube catchment? Journal of Limnology 75(2): 305-312. http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/jlimnol.2016.1313

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

Open Access Oleha M, Elena F, Alexandra N. 2016. Impact of low-molecule acidic peptides on growth and histological structure of inner organs of marbled crayfish Procambarus fallax (Hagen, 1870) f. virginalis. International Letters of Natural Sciences 56: 1-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.18052/www.scipress.com/ILNS.56.1

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

Shinji J, Miyanishi H, Gotoh H, Kaneko T. 2016. Appendage regeneration after autotomy is mediated by Baboon in the crayfish Procambarus fallax f. virginalis Martin, Dorn, Kawai, Heiden and Scholtz, 2010 (Decapoda: Astacoidea: Cambaridae). Journal of Crustacean Biology 36(5): 649-657. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1937240x-00002458

Takahashi K, Nagayama T. 2016. Shelter preference in the Marmorkrebs (marbled crayfish). Behaviour 153(15): 1913-1930. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1568539X-00003399. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1568539X-00003399

New Vogt G. 2016. Direct development and posthatching brood care as key features of the evolution of freshwater Decapoda and challenges for conservation. In: Kawai, T. and Cumberlidge, N. (eds.), A Global Overview of the Conservation of Freshwater Decapod Crustaceans, pp. 169-198. Springer International Publishing: Cham. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42527-6_6

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]

Open Access Yazicioglu B, Reynolds J, Kozák P. 2016. Different aspects of reproduction strategies in crayfish: A review. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 417: 33. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2016020

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

New 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).
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

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.
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 8 November 2016.