Australian crayfish could become threat, state biologists say
Jan. 22, 2008

Big Australian crayfish could create big problems for native Missouri crayfish if theyfre ever introduced to the state, Missouri Department of Conservation biologists say.

Although commercial crayfish growers have inquired about importing Australian red-claw crayfish, the state wildlife code prohibits their importation, according to a Conservation news release.

Known as the gfreshwater lobster, the red-claw crayfish can reach three-quarters of a pound in its first year.

Fisheries biologists in Missouri are concerned that if the Australian crayfish is introduced in Missouri and gets into state streams, it will compete with native crayfish and affect their populations.

Missouri crayfish inhabit every water habitat in Missouri and are an important food for fish, frogs and birds.

Biologists also are concerned that introduction of the Australian crayfish will create problems Europeans have been dealing with because of the introduction of North American species.

The problem is that North American crayfish introduced diseases European crayfish had not been exposed to previously.

Thatfs why fisheries biologists are warning that much more research needs to be done on the Australian crayfish before commercial crayfish growers are allowed to import it.