Friday, 14 September 2012

Invasive Crayfish Smuggled Alien Species Overseas

When the red swamp crayfish invaded Europe more than 30 years ago, it may have smuggled another species overseas.

Scientists say they've found an alien type of tiny crustacean in Spain, and evidence suggests it came from North America on the back of the crayfish.

A team of researchers collected 203 red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) from a dozen different sites along the Iberian Peninsula between 2003 and 2009. They found that 147 crayfish across almost all of the sampled regions were carrying ostracods known as Ankylocythere sinuosa, little crustaceans no more than a half-millimeter in length that lay their eggs on the crayfish. The ostracods need the crayfish to survive, not only laying their eggs on them but also clinging onto the crayfish as they develop.

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