Global invasive species database

  • General
  • Distribution
  • Impact
  • Management
  • Bibliography
  • Contact
Common name
Wasserschimmel (German), crayfish plague (English)
Synonym
Similar species
Aphanomyces invadans, Aphanomyces meridionalis, Aphanomyces piscicida, Aphanomyces stellatus
Summary
Aphanomyces astaci commonly referred to as crayfish plague is an oomycete or water mould that infects only crayfish species. It is endemic of North America and is carried by North American crayfish species; signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, Procambarus clarkii and Orconectes limosus. A. astaci was introduced into Europe through imports of North American species of crayfish. Native European crayfish populations are not resistant to this oomycete. It has since devastated native crayfish stocks throughout the continent.
Species Description
Black melanized spots may be indicative of the presence of the crayfish plague (Persson and Söderhäll, 1983; Vey et al. 1983; Diéguez-Uribeondo and Söderhäll, 1993; Nylund and Westman, 2000). Identification of A. astaci requires microscopic examination of the affected tissues (Cerenius et al. 1987). Behavioural abnormalities, such as the phenomenon of 'walking on stilts', in which infected crayfish stand on the tips of their walking legs, is not necessarily indicative of an infected specimen.

Research shows that chitinase is expressed at a high level during vegetative growth of the crayfish pathogen (Andersson and Cerenius, 2002). Andersson and Cerenius (2002) state that \"The pattern of chitinase expression is one of very few qualitative physiological characteristics known which can distinguish A. astaci from other parasitic and saprophytic species and may thus be of practical use for identification.\"
Oidtmann et al. (2002) developed a method which allows identification of A. astaci by means of PCR and restriction enzyme analysis from pure fungal cultures. Recently, Oidtmann et al. (2004) developed a molecular method for diagnosis of A. astaci in clinical samples based on internal transcribed sequences of the ribosomal DNA.

Notes
Ways of transmission only involves movements of chronic carriers, i.e. North American crayfish, or infected crayfish (Söderhäll and Cerenius, 1999). The chances of transmission by other means such as items that have been in contact with contaminated water, fish or birds are very low and can only occur during the short period of survival of the Aphanomyces spores, i.e. a few days.
Habitat Description
Aphanomyces astaci is an oomycete or water mould, which only parasitises freshwater crayfish (Unestam, 1969). Co-evolution might have led to different (ecological) genetic variants (Diéguez-Uribeondo et al. 1995). At least three different species of North American crayfish have been shown to carry this water mould in their cuticle: Pacifastacus leniusculus (Söderhäll et al. 1981; Smith and Söderhäll, 1986), Orconectes limosus (Vey et al. 1987), and Procambarus clarkii (Diéguez- Uribeondo and Söderhäll, 1993, Diéguez-Uribeondo et al. 1995). These crayfish are known to be responsible for the transmission of crayfish plague, A. astaci, to the European species of crayfish: noble crayfish (see Astacus astacus in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), white-clawed crayfish (see Austropotamobius pallipes in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), and A. leptodactylus (Huang et al. 1994, Lilley et al. 1997; Vennestrom et al. 1998;Oidtmann et al. 1999; Diéguez-Uribeondo and Söderhäll, 1999).
Reproduction
Aphanomyces astaci belongs to the order Saprolegniales. Reproduction among the Saprolegniales can be asexual and sexual. The order Saprolegniales is characterised by the production of biflagellate zoospores during asexual reproduction. Genera of saprolegnian fungi are distinguished by their asexual reproductive apparatus, features of zoosporangium production and the mode of zoospore release (Jong et al. 1991). Aphanomyces species are characterised by zoosporangia of the same diameter-like vegetative hyphae. The spores encyst at the sporangium tip after leaving the zoosporangium and form primary spore aggregates (the spore balls). From these, the secondary free-swimming zoospores emerge, which are the infective stage of the oomycete.\"

Oidtmann et al. (2002) states that, \"A. astaci is an exception in the genus Aphanomyces in that it does not reproduce sexually. But as sexual reproduction can be induced only inconsistently in other Aphanomyces sp. in culture, the absence of sexual structures is not a reliable indication of A. astaci.\"

Principal source: Oidtmann et al. 2002. Identification of the crayfish plague, Aphanomyces astaci, by polymerase chain reaction and restriction enzyme analysis and CEFAS, UNDATED Crayfish Plague: Summary Final Rreport.

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Javier Dieguez Uribeondo. CSIC Real Jardin Botanico, Spain

Publication date: 2006-03-23

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Aphanomyces astaci. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=107 on 27-09-2016.

General Impacts
The infection process usually starts on the soft unsclerotised cuticle under the abdomen (Unestam, 1973). Hyphae grow in the soft, non-calcified parts of the cuticle. the mycelia grow rapidly through the cuticle and reach the internal body cavity, which, in European crayfish species, results in crayfish death within 6-10 days (Unestam and Weiss, 1970; Unestam, 1972; Alderman et al. 1987). However, in North American species the oomycete elicits a strong defence reaction immediately upon penetration of the cuticle (Unestam and Weiss, 1970). Hyphae extend into the water and produce motile zoospores which infect other crayfish. The first sign of crayfish plague mortality may be the presence of crayfish at large during daylight hours (crayfish are normally nocturnal), some of which may show evident loss of coordination in their movements and easily fall over on their backs and are unable to right themselves. Often, however, unless waters are carefully observed, the first recognition that there is a problem will be the presence of large numbers of dead crayfish in a river or lake (Alderman et al. 1987).\"

A. astaci has devastated European crayfish populations causing substantial economic losses to previously valuable fisheries (Diéguez-Uribeondo et al. 1997; Alonso et al. 2000; Westman and Savolainen, 2001). Resistant North American crayfish species have been introduced in an attempt to revive crayfish fisheries but research now shows that these species are having detrimental impacts on the remaining native crayfish species (Holdich, 1996; Diéguez-Uribeondo et al. 1997; Josefsson, 1999, et al. 2000). Because of the increased distribution of A. astaci, it poses a significant risk to plague free countries and continents (CEFAS, UNDATED).

Management Info
For details on preventative measures, chemical, physical, cultural and biological control options, please see management information.
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Aphanomyces astaci
Informations on Aphanomyces astaci has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Aphanomyces astaci in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
The infection process usually starts on the soft unsclerotised cuticle under the abdomen (Unestam, 1973). Hyphae grow in the soft, non-calcified parts of the cuticle. the mycelia grow rapidly through the cuticle and reach the internal body cavity, which, in European crayfish species, results in crayfish death within 6-10 days (Unestam and Weiss, 1970; Unestam, 1972; Alderman et al. 1987). However, in North American species the oomycete elicits a strong defence reaction immediately upon penetration of the cuticle (Unestam and Weiss, 1970). Hyphae extend into the water and produce motile zoospores which infect other crayfish. The first sign of crayfish plague mortality may be the presence of crayfish at large during daylight hours (crayfish are normally nocturnal), some of which may show evident loss of coordination in their movements and easily fall over on their backs and are unable to right themselves. Often, however, unless waters are carefully observed, the first recognition that there is a problem will be the presence of large numbers of dead crayfish in a river or lake (Alderman et al. 1987).\"

A. astaci has devastated European crayfish populations causing substantial economic losses to previously valuable fisheries (Diéguez-Uribeondo et al. 1997; Alonso et al. 2000; Westman and Savolainen, 2001). Resistant North American crayfish species have been introduced in an attempt to revive crayfish fisheries but research now shows that these species are having detrimental impacts on the remaining native crayfish species (Holdich, 1996; Diéguez-Uribeondo et al. 1997; Josefsson, 1999, et al. 2000). Because of the increased distribution of A. astaci, it poses a significant risk to plague free countries and continents (CEFAS, UNDATED).

Locations
FINLAND
SPAIN
SWEDEN
TURKEY
Mechanism
[4] Disease transmission
Outcomes
[3] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [3] Reduction in native biodiversity
[1] Socio-Economic
  • [1] Damage on aquaculture/mariculture/fishery
Management information
For details on preventative measures, chemical, physical, cultural and biological control options, please see management information.
Locations
FINLAND
NORWAY
Management Category
Control
Unknown
Bibliography
32 references found for Aphanomyces astaci

Managment information
Andersson, M., and L. Cerenius. 2002. Analysis of chitinase expression in the crayfish plague fungus Aphanomyces astaci. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 51(2):139-147
Bangyeekhun, E., L. Cerenius, and K. Soderhall. 2001. Molecular cloning and characterization of two serine proteinase genes from the crayfish plague fungus, Aphanomyces astaci. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 77(3):206-216.
Bernardo, J. M., M. Ilheu, and A. M. Costa. 1997. Distribution, population structure and conservation of Austropotamobius pallipes in Portugal. Bulletin Francais de la Peche et de la Pisciculture 347:617-624.
CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science). UNDATED. Crayfish Plague: Summary Final Rreport.
Cerenius, L., S. Rufelt, and K. Soderhall. 1992. Effects of ampropylfos ((RS)-1-aminopropylphosphonic acid) on zoospore formation, repeated zoospore emergence and oospore formation in Aphanomyces spp. Pesticide Science 36(3):189-194.
Demers, A., and J. D. Reynolds. 2002. A survey of the white-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet), and of water quality in two catchments of eastern Ireland. Bulletin Francais de la Peche et de la Pisciculture 367:729-740.
Dieguez-Uribeodo, J., and K. Soderhall. 1993. Procambarus clarkii Girard as a vector for the crayfish plague fungus, Aphanomyces astaci Schikora. Aquaculture & Fisheries Management 24(6):761-765.
Dieguez-Uribeondo, J., and L. Cerenius. 1998. The inhibition of extracellular proteinases from Aphanomyces spp. by three different proteinase inhibitors from crayfish blood. Mycological Research 102(7):820-824.
Dieguez-Uribeondo, K., A. Rueda, E. Castien, and K. C. Bascones. 1997. A plan of restoration in Navarra for the native freshwater crayfish species of Spain, Austropotamobius pallipes. Bulletin Francais de la Peche et de la Pisciculture 347:625-637.
Erkamo, E., J. Kirjavainen, and J. Tulonen. 1992. Catching as a management method for crayfish. Finnish Fisheries Research 14(0):77-83.
Lilley, J. H., and V. Inglis. 1997. Comparative effects of various antibiotics, fungicides and disinfectants on Aphanomyces invaderis and other saprolegniaceous fungi Aquaculture Research 28(6):461-469.
Matthews, M., and J. D. Reynolds. 1990. Laboratory investigations of the pathogenicity of Aphanomyces astaci for Irish freshwater crayfish. Hydrobiologia 203(3):121-126.
Momot, W. T. 1992. Stocking and exploitation as management methods for European crayfish. Finnish Fisheries Research 14(0):145-148.
Oidtmann, B., L. Cerenius, I. Schmid, R. Hoffmann, and K. Soederhaell. 1999. Crayfish plague epizootics in Germany-Classification of two German isolates of the crayfish plague fungus Aphanomyces astaci by random amplification of polymorphic DNA. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 35(3):235-238.
Pockl, M. and Pekney, R. 2002. Interaction between native and Alien Species of Crayfish in Austria: Case Studies [Abstract], Bulletin Francais de la Peche et de la Pisciculture 367:763 - 776.
Summary: History of introduction and distribution of P. leniusculus in Austria.
Rantamaki, J., L. Cerenius, and K. Soderhall. 1992. Prevention of transmission of the crayfish plague fungus Aphanomyces astaci to the freshwater crayfish astacus-astacus by treatment with magnesium chloride. Aquaculture 104(1-2):11-18.
Royo, L., P. Girones, G. de Blas, U. Dieguez, and M. Muzquiz. 2002. Impact of age on susceptibility to aphanomycosis diseases in signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus (Dana, 1852). Boletin Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia 18(1-4): 195-198.
Taugbol, T., J. Skurdal, and T. Hastein. 1992. Crayfish plague and management strategies in Norway. Biological Conservation 63(1):75-82.
General information
Cerenius, L., and K. Soderhall. 1992. Crayfish diseases and crayfish as vectors for important diseases. Finnish Fisheries Research 14(0):125-133.
Czeczuga, B. 1994. Aquatic fungi of twelve Augustow Lakes with reference to the chemistry of the environment. Acta Mycologica 29(2): 217-227.
Gonzalez, J., J. D. Celada, J. M. Carral, T. E. Llamazares, and V. R. Gaudioso. 1992. The Freshwater Crayfish Crustacea decapoda Astacidae in Leon Province Spain 1989 Inventory. Boletin de la Real Sociedad Espanola de Historia Natural Seccion Biologica 88(1-4):139-145.
Holdich, D. M. 2003. Ecology of the White-clawed Crayfish. Conserving Natura 2000 Rivers Ecology Series No. 1.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2004. Online Database Aphanomyces astaci
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=13861 [Accessed December 31 2004]
Josefsson, M. 1999. Introduced organisms in Swedish freshwater environment. Fauna Och Flora (Stockholm) 94(2):75-84.
Lilley, J. H., L. Cerenius, and K. Soderhall. 1997. RAPD evidence for the origin of crayfish plague outbreaks in Britain. Aquaculture 157(3-4):181-185.
Matthews, M., and J. D. Reynolds. 1992. Ecological Impact of Crayfish Plague in Ireland. Hydrobiologia 234(1):1-6.
Nylund, V., and K. Westman. 2000. The prevalence of crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci) in two signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) populations in Finland. Journal of Crustacean Biology 20(4):777-785.
Oidtmann, B., E. Heitz, D. Rogers, and R. Hoffmann. 2002. Transmission of crayfish plague. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 52(2): 159-167.
Oidtmann, B., S. Bausewein, L. Holzle, R. Hoffman, and M. Wittenbrink. 2002. Identification of the crayfish plague fungus Aphanomyces astaci by polymerase chain reaction and restriction enzyme analysis. Veterinary Microbiology 85(2):183-194.
Rahe, R., and E. Soylu. 1989. Identification of the pathogenic fungus causing destruction to Turkish crayfish stocks Astacus leptodactylus. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 54(1):10-15.
Westman, K., and R. Savolainen. 2001. Long term study of competition between two co-occurring crayfish species, the native Astacus astacus L. and the introduced Pacifastacus leniusculus Dana, in a Finnish lake. Bulletin Francais de la Peche et de la Pisciculture 361:613-627.
Contact
The following 1 contacts offer information an advice on Aphanomyces astaci
Dieguez Uribeondo,
Javier
Organization:
CSIC Real Jardin Botanico
Address:
Cuesta de Moyano 1
Phone:
34 91 420 30 17
Fax:
34 91 420 05 17