Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Environmental factors influencing the distribution and abundance of the introduced signal crayfish in the north of Iberian Peninsula

I. Vedia A , D. Galicia A , E. Baquero A , J. Oscoz A and R. Miranda A B

A Department of Environmental Biology, University of Navarra, E-31008, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.

B Corresponding author. Email: rmiranda@unav.es

Marine and Freshwater Research 68(5) 900-908 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16020
Submitted: 20 January 2016  Accepted: 31 May 2016   Published: 3 August 2016

Abstract

The identification of habitat requirements of invasive species is essential to evaluate their spread and to assess the vulnerability of recipient ecosystems. We studied the distribution and abundance of the invasive signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) in 43 sites in northern Spain and analysed the relationships with several abiotic and biotic parameters of the aquatic ecosystems. Our results indicated that the abundance of signal crayfish was positively associated with vegetation cover and negatively associated with boulders. Also, its abundance was positively correlated with water temperature, organic matter, cations (e.g. sodium), anions (e.g. sulfates) and abundance of some native fish species (Parachondrostoma miegii and Luciobarbus graellsii). We concluded that the habitat of signal crayfish is among salmonid stretches (headwaters) with cold waters and low proportion of organic debris, and among cyprinid stretches (low waters) with warmer waters which it inhabits with another invasive crayfish, the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii). Our analysis indicated that the presence of signal crayfish is limited in the uppermost stretches by lower water temperatures and a lower proportion of organic debris. The existence of a natural environmental limiting factor in upstream reaches facilitates the conservation of aquatic ecosystems and native fauna.

Additional keywords: freshwater ecosystems conservation, habitat requirements, invasive alien species, Pacifastacus leniusculus, Spain.


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