Marmorkrebs, or marbled crayfish, are recently discovered parthenogenetic crayfish. Its origins are unknown, but it has been introduced into natural ecosystems and could become a highly invasive pest species. Marmorkrebs have potential as a model organism for research in many biological fields because they are genetically uniform. A key element of most successful model organisms is maintaining self-sustaining breeding colonies. We report on our efforts find the best conditions for establishing and maintaining a Marmorkrebs breeding colony for research. The colony was founded by four adults of unknown age (P generation). These foundresses were housed communally in standard aquaria and mainly fed vegetables (mostly peas), which were readily eaten. All adults generated multiple large batches of embryos, although three adults died over the course of a year. One daughter of the original adults (F1 generation) had her own offspring (F2 generation). The colony contained 14 descendants of the original adults after one year. The colony was later supplemented with additional 72 juveniles, which experienced 7% mortality in the first month in the colony. High juvenile mortality poses the most significant obstacle to establishing a research colony of Marmorkrebs, although relatively few adults would be needed to supply many viable embryos for developmental research.
Jimenez, Stephanie A. and Faulkes, Zen, "Establishment of a research colony of Marmorkrebs, a parthenogenetic crayfish species" (2009). Biology Faculty Publications and Presentations. 42.
Integrative and Comparative Biology