, Volume 234, Issue 1, pp 1–6 | Cite as

Ecological impact of crayfish plague in Ireland

  • Milton Matthews
  • Julian D. Reynolds


Freshwater crayfish are key members of aquatic communities due to their large size and abundance. Although most commonly regarded as herbivores and detritivores, they are also selective predators. The crayfish plague fungus Aphanomyces astaci (Schikora) led to the elimination of a stock of white-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet) from Lough Lene, Co. Westmeath, in 1987. Samples taken of the flora and benthic communities of two Irish lakes, one (Lough Bane) formerly containing crayfish and the other (Lough Lene) immediately following a plague outbreak, were compared to similar samples taken a year later and ecological shifts were noted and compared to laboratory feeding results. Over time, Chara strands increased in mean length, and molluscs became more abundant.

Key words

Crayfish Austropotamobius Chara grazing vegetation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milton Matthews
    • 1
  • Julian D. Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Dublin, Trinity CollegeDublin 2Ireland

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