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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Martyn Lucas

Bubb, D.H., Thom, T.J. & Lucas, M.C. (2006). Movement, dispersal and refuge use of co-occurring introduced and native crayfish. Freshwater Biology 51(7): 1359-1368.

Author(s) from Durham


1. Dispersal and habitat use are key elements in determining impacts of introduced species. We examined if an invasive crayfish species showed a different pattern of movement, dispersal and refuge use to that of a species that it displaces.

2. Fifteen adults of the introduced American signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus and 20 adult native white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes were radiotagged in an area of river where in 2003 they co-occurred and the spatial behaviour and habitat use of the two species were examined. Subsequent surveys at the study site in 2005 recorded no A. pallipes and the density of P. leniusculus had increased.

3. Clear differences in the spatial behaviour of the two species were found. The median distance moved per day by signal crayfish was over twice that of white-clawed crayfish, and dispersal from release locations was higher in signal crayfish. A similar range of refuges with a high degree of overlap was used by both species suggesting that the potential for competitive interaction between the two species exists.

4. The greater movement and dispersal by signal crayfish recorded here supports the hypothesis that invaders are better dispersers than the species that they displace. In addition, movements by signal crayfish may allow them to make better use of patchy resources than white-clawed crayfish and this, coupled with similar microhabitat use, may contribute to the observed replacement.