Allozyme variation in Czech populations of the invasive spiny-cheek crayfish
The North American spiny-cheek crayfish, Orconectes limosus, was most probably introduced into Europe only once, in 1890. The size of the founding population was just 90 individuals. Low genetic variability resulting from a bottleneck effect during introduction might therefore be supposed in European spiny-cheek crayfish populations. On the other hand, the fast spread of O. limosus in Europe and colonisation of various habitats suggest that this species does not suffer from inbreeding depression due to an introduction bottleneck. We analysed 14 O. limosus populations from the Czech Republic using allozyme electrophoresis to evaluate the level of intra- and among-population genetic variation. Out of eight well-scoring allozyme loci chosen for detailed analysis, six were variable in studied populations, suggesting that sufficient variability was maintained during the introduction. Genetic differentiation of Czech populations of the spiny-cheek crayfish was relatively low and did not show any clear geographic pattern, probably due to long-range translocations by humans.