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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 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 many 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


View Marmorkrebs introductions in a larger map

Timeline


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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/.

Colonies and stocks

NSF logo

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).

Cover gallery

Naturwissenschaften_cover (17K) dev_genes_evo_cover (18K) Int J Cancer cover (4K) Tissue and Cell cover (8K) J Morphology 262(2) (3K) Environmental Epigenetics cover Biologie in unserer Zeit cover

Research papers

For a more comprehensive list of research papers, click here.

Forthcoming

New Deidun A, Sciberras A, Formosa J, Zava B, Insacco G, Corsini-Foka M, Crandall KA. Invasion by non-indigenous freshwater decapods of Malta and Sicily, central Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Crustacean Biology: in press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jcbiol/ruy076

Open Access 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

Open Access 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 2(3): 567–573. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0467-9

Open Access Herrmann A, Schnabler A, Martens A. 2018. Phenology of overland dispersal in the invasive crayfish Faxonius immunis (Hagen) at the Upper Rhine River area. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 419: 30. https://doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2018018

New Hossain MS, Patoka J, Kouba A, Buřič M. Clonal crayfish as biological model: a review on marbled crayfish. Biologia 73(9): 841-855. https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-018-0098-2

NewOpen Access Linzmaier SM, Goebel LS, Ruland F, Jeschke JM. 2018. Behavioral differences in an over-invasion scenario: marbled vs. spiny-cheek crayfish. Ecosphere 9(9): e02385. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2385

Open Access 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

Open Access Marenkov O, Prychepa M, Kovalchuk J. 2018. The influence of heavy metal ions on the viability and metabolic enzyme activity of the marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis (Lyko, 2017). International Letters of Natural Sciences 70: 11-23. https://doi.org/10.18052/www.scipress.com/ILNS.70.11

NewOpen Access Naboka A, Marenkov O, Kovalchuk J, Shapovalenko Z, Nesterenko O, Dzhobolda B. 2018. Parameters of the histological adaptation of Marmorkrebs Procambarus virginalis (Lyko, 2017) (Decapoda, Cambaridae) to manganese, nickel and lead ions pollution. International Letters of Natural Sciences 70: 24-33. https://doi.org/10.18052/www.scipress.com/ILNS.70.24

Neff EP. 2018. The Marmorkrebs model. Lab Animal 47(4): 107-107. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41684-018-0030-y

Nentwig W, Bacher S, Kumschick S, Pyšek P, Vilŕ M. 2018. More than “100 worst” alien species in Europe. Biological Invasions 20(6): 1611–1621. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1651-6

Open Access Nischik ES, Krieger J. 2018. Evaluation of standard imaging techniques and volumetric preservation of nervous tissue in genetically identical offspring of the crayfish Procambarus fallax cf. virginalis (Marmorkrebs). PeerJ 6: e5181. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5181

Open Access Marenkov O, Batalov K, Kriachek O. 2018. Biological and biomechanical principles of the controlling molluscs Melanoides tuberculata (Müller 1774) and Tarebia granifera (Lamarck, 1822) in reservoirs of strategic importance World Scientific News 99: 71-83. http://www.worldscientificnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/WSN-99-2018-71-83.pdf

Scholz S, Richter S, Wirkner CS. 2018. Constant morphological patterns in the hemolymph vascular system of crayfish (Crustacea, Decapoda). Arthropod Structure & Development 47(3): 248-267. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asd.2017.12.005

Velisek J, Stara A, Zuskova E, Kubec J, Buric M, Kouba A. 2018. Chronic toxicity of metolachlor OA on growth, ontogenetic development, antioxidant biomarkers and histopathology of early life stages of marbled crayfish. Science of The Total Environment 643: 1456-1463. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.309

Vogt G. 2018. Investigating the genetic and epigenetic basis of big biological questions with the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish: A review and perspectives. Journal of Biosciences 43(1): 189-223. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12038-018-9741-x

Vogt G. 2018. Annotated bibliography of the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis, a new research model, potent invader and popular pet. Zootaxa 4418(4): 301-352. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4418.4.1

Open Access Vogt G. 2018. Glair glands and spawning in unmated crayfish: a comparison between gonochoristic slough crayfish and parthenogenetic marbled crayfish. Invertebrate Zoology 15(2): 215–220. https://doi.org/10.15298/invertzool.15.2.02, http://kmkjournals.com/journals/Inv_Zool/IZ_Index_Volumes/IZ_15/IZ_15_2_215_220_Vogt

NewOpen Access Vogt G, Dorn NJ, Pfeiffer M, Lukhaup C, Williams BW, Schulz R, Schrimpf A. 2018. In-depth investigation of the species problem and taxonomic status of marbled crayfish, the first asexual decapod crustacean. BioRxiv: 26 June 2018. https://doi.org/10.1101/356170 [Unreviewed pre-print]

Zeng Y, Yeo DCJ. 2018. Assessing the aggregated risk of invasive crayfish and climate change to freshwater crabs: A Southeast Asian case study. Biological Conservation 223: 58-67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.04.033


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

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

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.


External links

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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 21 September 2018.