, Volume 73, Issue 9, pp 841–855 | Cite as

Clonal crayfish as biological model: a review on marbled crayfish

  • Md Shakhawate Hossain
  • Jiří Patoka
  • Antonín Kouba
  • Miloš Buřič


Since the mid-twentieth century, numerous vertebrates and invertebrates have been used as model organisms and become indispensable tools for exploring a broad range of biological and ecological processes. Crayfish seem to be adequate models which resulted in their involvement in research. In the two decades since its discovery, ongoing research has confirmed that the marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis Lyko, 2017) is an ideal taxon in this regard, especially due to its almost continuous asexual reproduction providing a source of genetically identical offspring. This review provides an overview of the occurrence, biology, ecology, ethology, and human exploitation of marbled crayfish with primary focus on its use as a laboratory model organism as well as potential risks to native biota in case of its introduction. Genetic uniformity, ease of culture, and a broad behaviour repertoire fosters the use of marbled crayfish in epigenetics and developmental biology, as well as physiological, ecotoxicological, and ethological research. Marbled crayfish could be further exploited for basic and applied fields of science such as evolutionary biology and clonal tumour evolution. However, due to its high invasive potential in freshwater environments security measures must be taken to prevent its escape into the wild.


Model species Epigenetics Developmental biology Procambarus virginalis Biological invasion 



The study was financially supported by the Czech Science Foundation (project No. 18-03712S), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic - projects CENAKVA (No. CZ.1.05/2.1.00/01.0024), CENAKVA II (No. LO1205 under the NPU I program), Grant Agency of University of South Bohemia (No. 017/2016/Z), and by the Internal Grant Agency of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CIGA), project No. 20182013. We also deeply appreciate the assistance of the Lucidus Consultancy for the language editing of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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© Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Bohemian Research Centre of Aquaculture and Biodiversity of Hydrocenoses, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of WatersUniversity of South Bohemia in České BudějoviceVodňanyCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Fisheries, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural ResourcesCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePraha - SuchdolCzech Republic

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