Marmorkrebs are cloning crayfish
“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 are invasive
Marmorkrebs have been introduced and established populations in many countries. They can damage agriculture and threaten native species. Marmorkrebs should not be used for bait, kept in outdoor tanks or ponds (Marmorkrebs can migrate over land), or placed in any other situation where they could be released into natural ecosystems.
The European Union banned Marmorkrebs (i.e., possession, trade, transport, production, and release) and some other crayfish species in 2016. The United Kingdom retained this prohibition after its departure from the European Union in 2020.
Japan banned breeding and selling Marmorkrebs (and other crayfish species) in 2020.
In North America, Marmorkrebs are prohibited in:
Georgia, USA (since 2022)
Idaho, USA (since 2010)
Missouri, USA (since 2011)
Tennessee, USA (since 2015)
Michigan, USA (since 2020)
Ohio, USA (since 2020)
Saskatchewan, Canada (since 2020)
Ontario, Canada (since 2022)
Recent research papers
🆕 Sheppard NLM, Pham J, Ricciardi A. 2023. Influence of reproductive state and temperature on the functional response of the marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis. Biological Invasions: in press. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-023-03166-5
2023 research papers
🔓 Arianoutsou M, Adamopoulou C, Andriopoulos P, Bazos I, Christopoulou A, Galanidis A, Kalogianni E, Karachle PK, Kokkoris Y, Martinou AF, Zenetos A, Zikos A. 2023. HELLAS-ALIENS. The invasive alien species of Greece: time trends, origin and pathways. NeoBiota 86: 45-79. https://doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.86.101778
🔓 Artem O, Oleh M, Iryna H. 2023. Physiological and biochemical adaptations’ assessment of the marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis (Lyko, 2017) as an invasive specie (sic) of Ukraine. World Scientific News 182: 57-76. http://www.worldscientificnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/WSN-182-2023-57-76.pdf (direct link to PDF)
🔓 Carneiro VC, Galil B, Lyko F. A voyage into the Levant: the first record of a marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis (Lyko, 2017) population in Israel. BioInvasion Records 12(3): 829-836. https://doi.org/10.3391/bir.2023.12.3.18
🆕🔓 Faiad SM, Williams MA, Goodman M, Sokolow S, Olden JD, Mitchell K, Andriantsoa R, Jones JPG, Andriamaro L, Ravoniarimbinina P, Rasamy J, Ravelomanana T, Ravelotafita S, Ravo R, Rabinowitz P, De Leo GA, Wood CL. 2023. Temperature affects predation of schistosome-competent snails by a novel invader, the marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis. PLOS ONE 18(9): e0290615. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0290615
🆕 Hamr P. 2023. First record of the marbled crayfish in Canada/North America. Crayfish News 45(1-2): 1, 3. https://www.astacology.org/docs/cn/CrayfishNews_45(1-2)_hr.pdf (Direct link to PDF)
🔓 Kaur D, Iqbal A, Soto I, Kubec J, Buřič M. 2023. Effects of chemical cues and prior experience on predator avoidance in crayfish. Ecology and Evolution 13(8):e10426. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.10426
🔓 Kor G, Mengal K, Buřič M, Kozák P, Niksirat H. 2023. Comparative ultrastructure of the antennae and sensory hairs in six species of crayfish. PeerJ 11: e15006. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.15006
Kor G, Mengal K, Buřič M, Kozák P, Niksirat H. Granules of immune cells are the source of organelles in the regenerated nerves of crayfish antennae. Fish & Shellfish Immunology 137: 108787. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsi.2023.108787
🔓 Lipták B, Zorić K, Patoka J, Kouba A, Paunović M. The aquarium pet trade as a source of potentially invasive crayfish species in Serbia. Biologia 78: 2147–2155. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11756-023-01347-0
Mengal K, Kor G, Kouba A, Kozák P, Niksirat H. 2022. Hemocyte coagulation and phagocytic behavior in early stages of injury in crayfish (Arthropoda: Decapoda) affect their morphology. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 141: 104618. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dci.2022.104618
Mengal K, Kor G, Siino V, Buřič M, Kozák P, Levander F, Niksirat H. 2023. Quantification of proteomic profile changes in the hemolymph of crayfish during in vitro coagulation. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 147: 104760. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dci.2023.104760
🔓 Musil M, Let M, Roje S, Drozd B, Kouba A. 2023. Feeding in predator naïve crayfish is influenced by cues from a fish predator. Scientific Reports 13: 12265. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-39406-w
Roy K, Das K, Petraskova E, Kouba A. 2023. Protein from whole-body crayfish homogenate may be a high supplier of leucine or branched-chain amino acids – A call for validation on genus Procambarus sp. Food Chemistry 427: 136728. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.136728
Roy RS. 2023. Identification of gap junction genes involved in the tail-flip escape circuit of marbled crayfish. MSc thesis, Illinois State University. Illinois State University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 30313359. https://www.proquest.com/openview/0976de027582da67e16ba85b62d594dc/1
🔓 Vogt G. 2023. Environmental adaptation of genetically uniform organisms with the help of epigenetic mechanisms—An insightful perspective on ecoepigenetics. Epigenomes 7(1): 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes7010001
🆕 Vogt G. 2023. Epigenetics in Crustaceans. In: Piferrer F, Wang H-P (eds.), Epigenetics in Aquaculture, pp. 355-381. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119821946.ch16
🔓 Vogt G. 2023. Phenotypic plasticity in the monoclonal marbled crayfish is associated with very low genetic diversity but pronounced epigenetic diversity. Current Zoology 69(4): 426-441. https://doi.org/10.1093/cz/zoac094