Spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque, 1817) on its way to the open coastal waters of the Baltic Sea

Anna Szaniawska, Aldona Dobrzycka-Krahel, Joanna Jaszczołt

Records of spiny-cheek crayfish in the Polish coastal zone of the Baltic Sea in 2002-2014 based on the literature data and personal communications (for details see text)

Paper category: Review paper
Corresponding author: Aldona Dobrzycka-Krahel (oceadk@ug.edu.pl)
DOI: 10.1515/ohs-2017-0044
Received: March 23, 2017
Accepted: May 29, 2017
Full text: here


The aim of this work was to assess the adaptive capabilities of the spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque, 1817) in the open coastal waters of the Baltic Sea. The results could help to predict the likely further expansion of this species and its colonization of brackish waters. The following aspects were discussed in the paper: the occurrence of the species in the Polish coastal zone of the Baltic Sea, the plasticity demonstrated in the body size of individual crayfishes, food preferences, hemolymph osmolality and reproduction in waters of different salinities, which enable the species to colonize brackish waters. In the Vistula Lagoon (salinity 2-3 PSU), where the population of O. limosus is stable, the length of individuals ranged from 77 to 118 mm. These crayfish mostly fed on fodder; the second and the third food preferences were crayfish abdominal muscle and green algae. O. limosus is a hyper-regulator in freshwaters and at low salinities (up to 13 PSU), and a hyporegulator at higher salinities (14, 21, 28, 35 PSU). Laboratory studies showed that the embryonic development of O. limosus at salinities of 3 and 7 PSU was normal and a high level of reproductive success was achieved. Salinity of 3 PSU is more favorable for the development of juveniles than 7 PSU. It seems to be just a matter of time before this crayfish starts to form populations in the brackish, coastal waters of the Baltic Sea.


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Department of Experimental Ecology of Marine Organisms, Institute of Oceanography, Faculty of Oceanography and Geography, University of Gdańsk, Al. M. Piłsudskiego 46, 81-378 Gdynia, Poland
Department of Experimental Ecology of Marine Organisms, Institute of Oceanography, Faculty of Oceanography and Geography, University of Gdańsk, Al. M. Piłsudskiego 46, 81-378 Gdynia, Poland
Department of Experimental Ecology of Marine Organisms, Institute of Oceanography, Faculty of Oceanography and Geography, University of Gdańsk, Al. M. Piłsudskiego 46, 81-378 Gdynia, Poland

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