Crayfish alien species found at Phetchabun waterfall, Thais discuss potential effects to ecosystem

photo via Hardi Thin Facebook

After a non-native species of crayfish was found at a Northern Thailand waterfall, some are discussing the effects the species can have on the environment. A photo of a Redcraw crayfish, originating from Australia, at a waterfall in Phetchabun, sparked a debate about the potential damage this “freshwater lobster” can cause to the local ecosystem.

Crayfish (also known as crawfish, yabbies, freshwater lobsters, mudbugs or crawdads) are a type of freshwater crustacean native to North America, Europe and Oceania. To date, over 500 species of crayfish have been discovered in a variety of colours.

The Redcraw crayfish can reach up to 600 grams in weight and eats smaller aquatic organisms. If a water source has large numbers of this species, it could cause local species of fish to go extinct. Many are considering the appearance of this crayfish a sign of danger.

Redclaw crayfish are a non-native species so anyone who wishes to grow and sell them in Thailand is required to get a licence. The current recommended solution to the problem of wild Redclaw crayfish is catching and eating them, so many Thais are sharing their recipes for Redclaw crayfish in the comments beneath the Facebook post.

The largest freshwater shrimp found in Thailand is the Thailand Lobster (macrobrachium rosenbergii) which is not classified as a crayfish. According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand is home to over 1,500 alien species of plants, animals and microorganisms.

Sometimes, alien species are introduced in Thailand on purpose. Over 10 years ago, a quarter of a million parasitic African wasps were unleashed in Khon Kaen as an attempt to control a “pink mealy bug” outbreak which was devastating cassava plantations.

alien crayfish
photo via Hardi Thin Facebook


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