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 kept 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:

In 2022, one person in the US plead guilty to selling Marmorkrebs

Recent research papers


🔓 Kaur D, Das K, Kubec J, Buřič M. Stress conditions extend maternal care and delay juvenile development in crayfish. Current Zoology: in press.

🔓 Veselý L, Balzani P, Haubrock PJ, Buřič M, Glon M, Ercoli F, Ruokonen TJ, Kainz MJ, Hämäläinen H, Kouba A. Species-specific trophic discrimination factors can reduce the uncertainty of stable isotope analyses. Hydrobiologia: in press.

2024 research papers

🆕🔓  Burggren W, Martinez Bautista G, Göpel T, Padilla P. 2024. Lack of genetic variation in low heterozygosity and clonal animals creates lack of physiological variation. Physiology 39:S1. (Abstract only.)

Göpel T, Burggren WW. 2024. Temperature and hypoxia trigger developmental phenotypic plasticity of cardiorespiratory physiology and growth in the parthenogenetic marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis Lyko, 2017. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 288: 111562.

🔓 Neculae A, Barnett ZC, Miok K, Dalosto MM, Kuklina I, Kawai T, Santos S, Furse JM, Sîrbu OI, Stoeckel JA, Pârvulescu L. 2024. Living on the edge: Crayfish as drivers to anoxification of their own shelter microenvironment. PLOS ONE 19(1): e0287888.

🆕🔓 Sánchez O, Oficialdegui FJ, Torralba-Burrial A, Arbesú R, Valle-Artaza JM, Fernández-González Á, Ardura A, Arias A. Procambarus virginalis Lyko, 2017: A new threat to Iberian inland waters. Ecology and Evolution 14(5): e11362. 

Sheppard NLM, Pham J, Ricciardi A. 2024. Influence of reproductive state and temperature on the functional response of the marbled crayfish, Procambarus virginalis. Biological Invasions 26: 9-16.

🔓 Yanai Z, Guy-Haim T, Kolodny O, Levitt-Barmats Ya, Mazal A, Morov AR, Sagi A, Truskanov N, Milstein D. 2024. An overview of recent introductions of non-native crayfish (Crustacea, Decapoda) into inland water systems in Israel. BioInvasions Records 13(1): 195-208.

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.

🔓 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. (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.

🔓 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. 

Hamr P. 2023. First record of the marbled crayfish in Canada/North America. Crayfish News 45(1-2): 1, 3. (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.

🔓 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.

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. 

🔓 Legrand C, Andriantsoa R, Lichter P, Raddatz G, Lyko F. 2023. Time-resolved, integrated analysis of clonally evolving genomes. PLOS Genetics 19(12): e1011085.

🔓 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.

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.

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.

🔓 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.

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.

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.

Slusar M, Muzhenko A, Kovalchuk I, Borshchenko V, Verbelchuk T. 2023. Study of the embryonic period of female crayfish egg development in different species. Scientific Horizons 26(12): 22-31.

🔓 Vogt G. 2023. Environmental adaptation of genetically uniform organisms with the help of epigenetic mechanisms—An insightful perspective on ecoepigenetics. Epigenomes 7(1): 1.

Vogt G. 2023. Epigenetics in Crustaceans. In: Piferrer F, Wang H-P (eds.), Epigenetics in Aquaculture, pp. 355-381.

🔓 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.

Marmorkrebs blog

News and commentary here. Featured in The Open Lab 2008 anthology.


Portal for the Marmorkrebs genome is here.

 This site is maintained by Zen Faulkes and was last updated 1 May 2024.