Alien crayfish found in Chadwick Lakes, research group laments of consequences

The red swamp crayfish has been introduced to local fresh waters, leaving an impact on the habitat and its biodiversity

The red swamp crayfish has been observed at Chadwick lakes
The red swamp crayfish has been observed at Chadwick lakes

The University-based Conservation Biology Research Group has confirmed the presence of the an invasive alien fresh water species, the red swamp crayfish, at Chadwick Lakes, while warning of the implication it has for biodiversity.

In a statement, the group lamented that the species, known also by its scientific name as Procambarus clarkii, was introduced in the Maltese fresh water habitat by “some careless human action”, holding that local natural fresh water communities may be affect as a result of its presence.

“Observations of this species confirmed its opportunistic feeding of tadpoles and other species found in the fresh water environment pointing toward impacts on this habitat and its biodiversity,” the group said, adding that it has shared the finding with the environment protection authority in order to recommend action toward removing the new species.

The Conservation Biology Research Group has discovered various non-native species in the marine environment, including the Cocoa Damselfish, Dory Snapper, Indo-Pacific Sergeant, Sergeant Major, African Sergeant, Lowfin Chub, Niger Hind, Monrovia Surgeonfish, Indo-Pacific Punctuated Flatworm, Lionfish, Squirrelfish.

In view of this, the group said that more care in the importation and sale of exotic species should be in place as most habitats “are already suffering from various anthropogenic problems.”

The group invited members of the public to forward any evidence of non-native species to it so it may continue with its work to promote effective conservation of species and habitats needing urgent care. 

Various stakeholders including fishermen, SCUBA divers, farmers, nature enthusiasts and BICREF NGO members have been assisting local efforts toward conservation.

More in Nature