Revisiting reproduction and population structure and dynamics ofProcambarus clarkiieight years after its introduction into Lake Trasimeno (Central Italy)
Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems
Key-words: red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, reproduction, population structure and population dynamics, invasive species Understanding population dynamics and regulation is fundamental for predicting establishment and spread of invasive alien species. In addition, the population biology of invasive alien species offers an opportunity to study basic ecological processes. In this context, we investigated reproductive and growth plasticity in the invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii in
... barus clarkii in Lake Trasimeno (central Italy). In total, 3153 crayfish were collected monthly from June 2007 to July 2009. The molt status was assessed by evaluating the exoskeleton hardness. To assess the reproductive cycle, the gonado-somatic and wet hepato-somatic indices were calculated for females. The reproductive status of males was appraised as well. We estimated growth and longevity using the von Bertalanffy growth function, and calculated the total, natural and fishing mortality indices. We then compared our present data with those obtained from the same population eight years before. Our results indicate some changes in population dynamics and in both molting and reproductive periods since the initial invasion of the shallow lake investigated. Long-term differences in the life history of the Trasimeno population may be the result of selective pressures different from those of the native range, but may also result from colonization events and human interference caused by professional fishing activities.