Look out for crayfish!
Have you seen ‘small lobsters’ in our rivers & streams recently? If so, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust would love to hear from you! Our only native crayfish, the White-clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) is Endangered, largely due to the spread of the alien Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), so sightings are needed of both species. as your preferred charity.
The White-clawed Crayfish is olive-green to brown in colour and reaches no more than 12cm in length (from tip of tail to top of head). Its name refers to the colour of the undersides of the claws, which are off-white to pinkish. Compared to the native species, the Signal Crayfish is much larger (up to 16cm); its claws are red underneath and have a small turquoise / white blotch on the upper side.
Conservation Officer for the Trust, Tammy Stretton, said, ‘The docile White-clawed Crayfish is losing ground to the more aggressive Signal, both through direct competition and the spread of ‘crayfish plague’, to which our natives are extremely susceptible. We are currently working to save a recently discovered population of white-claws near Llanfair Caereinion, under imminent threat from signals. We really need help from the public to further improve our records and understand the plight of our unique native species’.
Whether you have seen crayfish or not, you can help the White-clawed Crayfish. If you use our waterways for any purpose, make sure you ‘CHECK, CLEAN, DRY’.
- CHECK your equipment and clothing for living organisms & return them to the waterbody in which you found them.
- CLEAN and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly and make sure you don't transfer water elsewhere.
- DRY all equipment and clothing before visiting another waterbody.
You can report your sightings here, or contact Tammy Stretton, Conservation Officer, on email@example.com or 01938 555654, or pop in to the Welshpool office. Identifying crayfish is not always straightforward, so please provide a photo where possible.
Signal Crayfish is listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 making it an offence to release or to allow the escape of this species into the wild. It is also an offence to keep any crayfish without a license and if trapping is planned, an application should be made to Natural Resources Wales.
26 August 2014