REINTRODUCTION OF ASTACUS ASTACUS L. IN EAST TYROL, AUSTRIA
In Tyrolean like in other European freshwaters, crayfish populations decreased in numbers and qualities. They are today regarded as endangered animals. The Astacus astacus (Linnaeus, 1758) population of historical evidence in Tristacher See and its out flowing stream Tristacher Seebach (mentioned already by Emperor Maximilian I in 1504) became extinct in the late 1990s. After the restoration of the stream we started a species conservation programme with various specific protection measures, including breeding and restocking of young-of-the-year and adult A. astacus. Females, after having released their young in the hatchery, were stocked together with males in a 200-m-section of Tristacher Seebach, previously populated by A. astacus. In October, the young-of-theyear crayfish were released in another area of the same stream. To show the importance of habitat diversity and shelter, four sites for introduction were selected describing a gradient of habitat diversity. We monitored general characteristics of the population (sex, size, densities) and compared them to habitat conditions. Individual crayfish were tagged with gloss-paint pens to allow an observation of their movements between the different sections over the summer months. We found significant results when migration behaviour, population assemblage and habitat conditions were compared. Males frequently moved longer distances than females. Migration length corresponded to the gradient of available structures and shelter. Heterogeneous riprap was somewhat preferred to artificial shelter like bricks or plastic tubes. Sections without additional shelter showed almost no presence of crayfish. Sex and size distribution within assemblages appeared also to be affected by habitat conditions. Our results indicate the importance of monitoring in species reintroduction projects, as this research demonstrated the immediate effect and importance of habitat structure and affirmed the success of the protection measures. This may in fact help to avoid future failure.
Auteurs du document :
D. SINT, L. FÜREDER
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Mots clés :
Crayfish, conservation, endangered species, habitat, stream ecology, écrevisse, conservation, espèce en danger, habitat, écologie des rivières