, Volume 746, Issue 1, pp 135–146 | Cite as

Factors inducing overland movement of invasive crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) in a ricefield habitat

  • Ricardo Oliveira Ramalho
  • Pedro Manuel Anastácio


The red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) is a widespread invader which can disperse overland. This study was conducted to determine which factors can induce overland dispersal. During 12 months, the numbers of P. clarkii out of water were monitored at an experimental rice research station. Data were obtained on preferential time period for overland dispersal; population structure on land and in water; direction of movement; and the relation between environmental variables and the occurrence of crayfish out of water. A main factor inducing overland dispersal was intentional drainage of the study area associated with rice cultivation. During post-drainage, crayfish dispersal overland was positively correlated with rainfall. Other variables significantly affecting the overland dispersal of crayfish were the relative humidity, air temperature and the period of the day. We found significant differences in the structure of the trappable population in the water and of the individuals out of the water, with a higher proportion of mature individuals dispersing overland. Because overland migrants were dominated by mature individuals, often with eggs or hatchlings attached to the abdomen, these may effectively colonize new areas.


Biological invasions Overland dispersion Red swamp crayfish Rice fields Drought Rain Procambarus clarkii 



The project ‘DID– Dispersion of Invasive Decapoda’ was financed by the European Fund for Economic and Regional Development (FEDER) through the Program Operational Factors of Competitiveness (COMPETE) and National Funds through the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology (PTDC/BIA-BEC/105 182/2008, FCOMP 01 0124 FEDER 00 89 65). Ricardo Ramalho had a PhD grant (SFRH/BD/19373/2004) from the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology. Thanks are due to COTArroz—Centro Operacional do Arroz for the permission to develop this research in their experimental rice fields. We thank the anonymous reviewers of this paper for their constructive scientific comments and also for the decisive contribute to improve the English in the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 206 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Oliveira Ramalho
    • 1
  • Pedro Manuel Anastácio
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Paisagem, Ambiente e Ordenamento, IMAR—Centro de Mar e Ambiente, Escola de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal

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