South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Trade in live, freshwater crayfish for ornamental markets, as well as for aquaculture, has grown rapidly and has become the major pathway for the introduction of non-indigenous crayfish species to several countries worldwide. Here we report on the first record of the Australian 'redclaw' Cherax quadracarinatus in the natural waters of a game reserve in South Africa. To compound the situation, these redclaw crayfish were infected with a non-indigenous temnocephalan flatworm parasite. Both crayfish and temnocephalan were in full breeding condition, with young. Further spreading of this crayfish to the subtropical, water-rich, northern KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa and southern Mozambique is predicted. Not only might the crayfish compete with indigenous aquatic invertebrates but the non-host-specific temnocephalan might transfer to local decapods, such as freshwater crabs.
Keywords : alien crayfish; aquatic health; South Africa; Cherax quadricarinatus; Diceratocephala boshmai.