Undocumented crayfish species found in Kansas pose threat to state lakes

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PRATT, Kan. (WIBW) – An undocumented crayfish species found in McPherson State Fishing Lake poses a threat to other lakes in Kansas.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks says widespread sampling of invasive crayfish never took place in Kansas lakes, that is, until it recently funded a university project focused on freshwater crustaceans. He said his Harmful Aquatic Species Program and Ecological Services Section funded the project with the aim of establishing sampling protocols that would be used for long-term monitoring of native and invasive crayfish in the state. . To the surprise of staff and researchers, the need for such protocols was validated almost as quickly as the project began.

According to the KDWP, during catching efforts at McPherson State Fishing Lake, university researchers collected various rusty crayfish. He said the rusty crayfish had not yet been documented in the wild in Kansas, making it the first such find. He said the rusty crayfish caught in the lake consisted of males and females of varying ages, indicating that a breeding population has been established in the lake. Unfortunately, he said this was not the type of species he hoped to find, as the species is invasive and known for the extensive ecological damage it could cause to water bodies.

The KDWP said the aggressive large crayfish is not only known to attack the feet of lake-goers and unsuspecting animals, it outperforms both native fish and crayfish species for forage, which is also an important cover for certain species of prey.

“The most likely cause of the introduction of the red crayfish to Kansas is its use as fishing bait,” said Chris Steffen, KDWP aquatic pest coordinator. “This species is an excellent example of the importance of always emptying the water from your boat, of living well and of chocking before leaving a body of water, and of never moving bait from a body of water. water to another. You never know what a hitchhiking trip could be like.

According to the ministry, staff and researchers working on the project will continue to experiment with various capture methods and techniques on a small number of water bodies across Kansas. Once an effective and efficient process is found, he said staff will continue their sampling efforts in many of the state’s lakes.

The KDWP said anglers, boaters and water sports enthusiasts should keep their eyes open for the invasive species, which can be identified by its large black-tipped claws and rust-colored spots on its shell. superior. It is stated that if one is found, freeze it in a sealed plastic bag, note the date and location of the capture and contact the Emporia Research and Investigation Office at 620-342-0658 .

For more information on other harmful aquatic species, click HERE.

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