Species Of The Week Number 32: White-clawed Crayfish

Meanwood Beck is one of the most important sites in the country for the endangered native White-clawed Crayfish. But sadly I should have written that in the past tense.

The species is at risk because it faces two threats: the invasive Signal Crayfish and crayfish plague. The Signal native to America, it's bigger and outcompetes the White-claw and then adversely affects the delicate ecosystem of our rivers. When signals arrive (mostly via human intervention) it is the death knell for the white-claws. Crayfish plague will also wipe out an entire population.

In January of this year tragically crayfish plague was identified in part of the Beck's population.

An action plan was implemented by the Environment Agency, involving a complex operation to remove as many healthy individuals as possible, transferring them to safe sites elsewhere.

Last week around 50 people - comprising agency staff and volunteers - descended on the Beck upstream of Meanwood with the aim using a pumping system to dry a section of the river bed out and removing healthy individuals by hand, possibly in their hundreds. They would then be transferred to specialised tanks installed on site prior to health checks and relocation.

Unfortunately the difficult pumping operation was unsuccessful we only caught a few individuals. It included this pregnant female with eggs or 'berries' attached to her underside.

The Meanwood Beck White-clawed Crayfish have been surveyed continuously since 1995. Very sadly it is probably now too late to save them.

Publicado el 03 de mayo de 2023 por clunym clunym


Please let me know if there are any more planned events to catch the black ones. I'd like to be involved

Publicado por bizlarry hace alrededor de 1 año

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