Spiny-cheek crayfish

Orconectes limosus


Photo credit: ©Casey D. Swecker
Orconectes limosus
Common Names:
  • Spiny-cheek crayfish

  • Freshwater rivers, lakes, canals, ponds, water-filled gravel pits, and streams; all with a preference for turbid calm conditions

  • The spiny-cheek crayfish is a small North American crayfish that was deliberately introduced into Europe to supplement dwindling stocks of Europe’s native crayfish (Astacus astacus).

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • Although intentional introduction failed as a commercial venture, the species has colonised rivers, streams, ponds and lakes in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • Like other invasive alien crayfish, its high reproductive rate and tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions has enabled it to spread far and wide.
  • It is now one of the primary causes of the decline of native European crayfish species, through both competition for resources and the spread of the crayfish plague.

How could it get here?
  • Could be released or restocked in rivers with a population.

Is it found in Northern Ireland?
  • Not present in Northern Ireland.

Methods for Prevention:
  • A ban on releasing or restocking the species, rapid eradication of any newly emerging populations, and the management of established populations should contain the species. Part of the management solution also lies in its continued commercial fishing, provided that their pollutant concentrations are monitored, and provided that this is integrated in the management measures of the Member State.
  • Report all sightings.

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
  • Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016) This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email: invasivespecies@daera-ni.gov.uk
Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland