A mass mortality was detected in the downstream section of one of the most extensive French populations of the endangered white-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes, on June 26, 2013. This population occupied a 12 km stretch of the La Lucelle brook, with an estimated size of around 150 000 individuals. The presence of the crayfish plague pathogen was quickly diagnosed as the cause of the mortality, and monitoring was carried out to follow the spread of the disease from 15 July 2013 for one year. Results showed that after a fast spread between 15 and 25 July 2013 (upstream progression of mortality for about 4 km), the mortality front was limited to a stretch of a few hundred meters from August until December 2013. During winter, mortality was always observed, confirming that disease remained active. In April 2014, the mortality front was halted by a large dam in the brook (2 m high), 0.56 km from brook source. Two months later, 30 live crayfish were observed above the dam. On the 30 August 2014, no crayfish were found above the dam. Infected individuals analysed for microsatellite markers confirmed the Pacifastacus leniusculus strain of Aphanomyces astaci at the origin of this outbreak. Before the crayfish plague spread upstream of the large dam, a sample of 576 individuals was collected from upstream of the dam and translocated to another stream in the same French department. In July 2014, observations by night confirmed the presence of translocated white-clawed crayfish in the receiving brook.
Auteurs du document :
M. Collas, T. Becking, M. Delpy, M. Pflieger, P. Bohn, J. Reynolds, F. Grandjean