Distribution and biometry of native and alien crayfish in Trentino (Italian Alps)

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Sonia Endrizzi
Maria Cristina Bruno *
Bruno Maiolini
(*) Corresponding Author:
Maria Cristina Bruno | cristina.bruno@fmach.it


To fill the existing gaps in the knowledge of the crayfish species distribution in Trentino region (North-East Italy), we surveyed fourteen lakes, six ponds and sixty-nine creeks and streams in 2010-2012. We recorded four populations of the invasive alien species Orconectes limosus in four lakes and twenty of the native Austropotamobius pallipes complex from four lakes, three ponds and thirteen creeks; three of these populations went extinct during the three years of our survey. Crayfish populations were monitored in spring, summer and early autumn, to assess the distribution, density and seasonal dynamics of the two species. Statistical analysis of morphometric data showed differences in body size and growth rates among sampling sites, possibly related to local environmental factors, with higher growth rates in males of both species; A. pallipes grew faster in creeks than in lakes. The extinction of twenty-two native populations of A. pallipes complex in the last century was likely due to habitat modifications, in particular to the loss of riparian habitat, in few cases to overfishing, and, more recently, to the spread of alien species and the related transmission of their parasite Aphanomyces astaci. Some populations of A. pallipes complex were infested with the parasite Thelohania sp., and only one population with ectosymbiotic Branchiobdellida. In Trentino, small creeks with well developed riparian vegetation and good hydromorphological conditions, flowing through mountain slopes, can represent potential refuge and recruitment areas for of A. pallipes complex, without significant management intervention, although a sustainable management of piedmont water bodies would allow preserving or increasing the number and density of the relict populations.

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