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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” roughly translates from German as “marbled crab.” The scientific name for Marmorkrebs is Procambarus virginalis (previously Procambarus fallax f. virginalis). They are an asexual relative of slough crayfish (Procambarus fallax) that live across Florida and southern Georgia in the United States. The only known cases of Marmorkrebs in the wild are where they have been introduced by humans.

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 as invasive species

Marmorkrebs have been introducted in many countries, and have established populations in some. They can damage agriculture and threaten 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.

The European Union banned possession, trade, transport, production, and release of Marmorkrebs (and several other crayfish species) in 2016. Marmorkrebs are also prohibited in several North American jurisdictions.

Country Jurisdiction Year prohibited
Canada Saskatchewan 2020
USA Idaho 2010
  Michigan 2020
  Missouri 2011
  Tennessee 2015

Map of Marmorkrebs introductions


View Marmorkrebs introductions in a larger map

Timeline

Timeline of key mooments in Marmorkrebs reseach and policy is here.


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Marmorkrebs blog. Award-winning science writing!

 


Research

Genome

The portal for the complete Marmorkrebs genome is at http://marmorkrebs.dkfz.de/.

Cover gallery

Naturwissenschaften cover Development Genes Evolution cover International Journal of Cancer cover (4K) Tissue and Cell cover Journal of Morphology cover Environmental Epigenetics cover Biologie in unserer Zeit cover Phenotypic Switching cover Salzburgs Fischerei cover

Recent research papers

For comprehensive list of past research papers, click here.

Forthcoming

New Linzmaier SM, Musseau C, Matern S, Jeschke JM. Trophic ecology of invasive marbled and spiny-cheek crayfish populations. Biological Invasions: in press. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02328-z

Vogt G. Evaluation of the suitability of the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish for aquaculture: potential benefits versus conservation concerns. Hydrobiologia: in press. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-020-04395-8

2021 research papers

New Hossain MS, Kubec J, Guo W, Roje S, Ložek F, Grabicová K, Randák T, Kouba A, Buric M. 2020. A combination of six psychoactive pharmaceuticals at environmental concentrations alter the locomotory behavior of clonal marbled crayfish. Science of The Total Environment 751: 141383. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141383

2020 research papers

Open Access Andriantsoa R, Jones JPG, Achimescu V, Randrianarison H, Raselimanana M, Andriatsitohaina M, Rasamy J, Lyko F. 2020. Perceived socio-economic impacts of the marbled crayfish invasion in Madagascar. PLOS ONE 15(4): e0231773. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231773

New Benson AM. 2020. Identification of innexins contributing to giant-fiber escape responses in marbled crayfish. Master's thesis, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University. Stein W, Vidal-Gadea A, advisors. http://doi.org/10.30707/ETD2020.Benson.A

Hossain MS, Guo W, Martens A, Adámek Z, Kouba A, Buric M. Potential of marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis to supplant invasive Faxonius immunis. Aquatic Ecology 54: 45-56. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-019-09725-0

Open Access Laurenz J, Georg A, Brendelberger H, Lehmann K. 2020. Effects of nitrate on early life stages of Astacus astacus (Linnaeus, 1758) and Procambarus virginalis (Lyko, 2017). International Aquatic Research 12(1): 53-62. https://doi.org/10.22034/iar(20).2020.671232

Open Access Linzmaier SM, Jeschke JM. 2020. Towards a mechanistic understanding of individual-level functional responses: Invasive crayfish as model organisms. Freshwater Biology 64(4): 657-673. https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13456

Lyko F. 2020. Epigenetic adaptation in a clonal invasive crayfish. Symposium presentation at Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, 3-7 January 2020, Austin, Texas, USA. http://vps40083.inmotionhosting.com/~sicb/meetings/2020/schedule/abstractdetails.php?id=3 (Abstract only.)

Open Access Rusch JC, Mojžišová M, Strand DA, Svobodová J, Vrĺlstad T, Petrusek A. 2020. Simultaneous detection of native and invasive crayfish and Aphanomyces astaci from environmental DNA samples in a wide range of habitats in Central Europe. NeoBiota 58: 1-32. https://doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.58.49358

New Talasu S. 2020. Identifying dopamine receptor genes and transcription marbled crayfish. Poster presentation given to Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, 22 April 2020. https://digitalcommons.imsa.edu/sir_presentations/2020/session1/76/ (Abstract only.)

Open Access Tönges S, Masagounder K, Gutekunst J, Lohbeck J, Miller AK, Böhl F, Lyko F. 2020. Physiological properties and tailored feeds to support aquaculture of marbled crayfish in closed systems. bioRxiv: 2020.2002.2025.964114. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.25.964114 (Unreviewed preprint)

Open Access Velisek J, Stara A, Kubec J, Zuskova E, Buric M, Kouba A. 2020. Effects of metazachlor and its major metabolite metazachlor OA on early life stages of marbled crayfish. Scientific Reports 10(1): 875. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-57740-1

New Velisek J, Stara A, Zuskova E, Chabera J, Kubec J, Buric M, Kouba A. 2020. Effects of chloridazon on early life stages of marbled crayfish. Chemosphere 257: 127189. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127189

Vogt G. 2020. Biology, ecology, evolution, systematics and utilization of the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis. In: Ribeiro FB (ed.), Crayfish: Evolution, Habitat and Conservation Strategies, pp. 137-227. Nova Publishers: Hauppauge. https://novapublishers.com/shop/crayfish-evolution-habitat-and-conservation-strategies/

Yonvitner Y, Patoka J, Yuliana E, Bohatá L, Tricarico E, Karella T, Kouba A, Reynolds JD. Enigmatic hotspot of crayfish diversity at risk: Invasive potential of non-indigenous crayfish if introduced to New Guinea. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems: 30(2): 219-224. https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3276


Popular press

Tropical Fish Hobbyist March 2009 cover New Scientist issue 3185 cover

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

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

Anonymous. 2020. This self-cloning crayfish is scuttling into rivers and streams throughout Alberta. CBC News Calgary. 22 April 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/crayfish-alberta-1.5541606

Cepelewicz J. 2020. Nature versus nurture? Add ‘noise’ to the debate. Quanta Magazine. 23 March 2020. https://www.quantamagazine.org/nature-versus-nurture-add-noise-to-the-debate-20200323/

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

Estonian Research Council. 2018. The marbled crayfish have established themselves in Narva power plant. EurekAlert!
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/erc-tmc060618.php

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

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.
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

Le Page M. 2018. Crayfish clone army on the loose. New Scientist 239(3185): 16. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0262-4079(18)31193-X (Published online with title, “Freak accident created a massive army of super-fertile clones.”)

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.

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.
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

Zhang S. 2018. A pet crayfish can clone itself, and it’s spreading around the world. The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/attack-of-the-crayfish-clones/552236/

Zimmer C. 2018. This mutant crayfish clones itself, and it’s taking over Europe. The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/science/mutant-crayfish-clones-europe.html


Laws

Idaho designated Marmorkebs an aquative invasive invertrbrate species in 2010, which makes possessing or transporting them illegal. 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 1 September 2020. “Hope begins with rebellion.”