The prevalence of Aphanomyces astaci in invasive signal crayfish from the UK and implications for native crayfish conservation

J James, S Nutbeam-Tuffs, J Cable, A Mrugała, N Viñuela-Rodriguez, A Petrusek, B Oidtmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The crayfish plague agent, Aphanomyces astaci, has spread throughout Europe, causing a significant decline in native European crayfish. The introduction and dissemination of this pathogen is attributed to the spread of invasive North American crayfish, which can act as carriers for A. astaci. As native European crayfish often succumb to infection with A. astaci, determining the prevalence of this pathogen in non-native crayfish is vital to prioritize native crayfish populations for managed translocation. In the current study, 23 populations of invasive signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) from the UK were tested for A. astaci presence using quantitative PCR. Altogether, 13 out of 23 (56·5%) populations were found to be infected, and pathogen prevalence within infected sites varied from 3 to 80%. Microsatellite pathogen genotyping revealed that at least one UK signal crayfish population was infected with the A. astaci genotype group B, known to include virulent strains. Based on recent crayfish distribution records and the average rate of signal crayfish population dispersal, we identified one native white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) population predicted to come into contact with infected signal crayfish within 5 years. This population should be considered as a priority for translocation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-418
Number of pages8
JournalParasitology
Volume144
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jan 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Pacifastacus leniusculus
  • crayfish plague
  • white clawed crayfish
  • Austropotamobius pallipes
  • Ark Sites

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