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Tracking the invasion of the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852) (Decapoda Cambaridae) in Sicily: a “citizen science” approach

  • Author(s): Faraone, Francesco Paolo
  • Giacalone, Gabriele
  • Canale, Domenica Emanuela
  • D'Angelo, Stefania
  • Favaccio, Giorgio
  • Garozzo, Vincenzo
  • Giancontieri, Giacoma Lidia
  • Isgrò, Carmelo
  • Melfi, Raffaella
  • Morello, Bruno
  • Navarria, Federica
  • Russo, Giuseppe
  • Tinnirello, Viviana
  • Torre, Antonio
  • Torre, Daniele
  • Torre, Giancarlo
  • Urso, Giuseppe
  • Vinci, Pierluigi
  • Zizzo, Maria Grazia
  • Marrone, Federico
  • et al.
Abstract

The first record of the red swamp crayfish in Sicily dates back to 2003 and, since then, the species seemed to be confined to a few localities in western Sicily. A small “citizen science” project carried out from November 2016 onwards led to the creation of the “Sicilian Procambarus working group” (SPwg), which aims at monitoring the distribution and impact of the species in Sicily. To date, the SPwg found the red swamp crayfish in five new sites on the island, thus doubling the number of local sites of occurrence. The new Procambarus clarkii sites lie in different river basins, some of them located several hundred kilometres from the invaded areas known to date, suggesting the existence of multiple independent releases of the species in the wild. The need of better informing the local population on the risks exerted by invasive species on biological diversity, and of carefully monitoring the impact of P. clarkii on the Sicilian inland water biota is briefly stressed.

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