Crayfish plague in Japan: A real threat to the endemic Cambaroides japonicus
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CitationMartín-Torrijos, L. Kawai, T. Makkonen, J. Jussila, J. Kokko, H. Diéguez-Uribeondo, J. (2018). Crayfish plague in Japan: A real threat to the endemic Cambaroides japonicus. PLOS ONE, 13 (4) , e0195353. 10.1371/journal.pone.0195353.
Global introductions of aquatic species and their associated pathogens are threatening worldwide biodiversity. The introduction of two North American crayfish species, Procambarus clarkii and Pacifastacus leniusculus, into Japan in 1927 seems to have negatively affected native Japanese crayfish populations of Cambaroides japonicus. Several studies have shown the decline of these native populations due to competition, predation and habitat colonization by the two invasive North American crayfish species. Here, we identify an additional factor contributing to this decline. We report the first crayfish plague outbreaks in C. japonicus populations in Japan, which were diagnosed using both histological and molecular approaches (analyses of the internal transcribed spacer region). Subsequent analyses of the mitochondrial ribosomal rnnS and rnnL regions of diseased specimens indicate that these outbreaks originated from a P. clarkii population and identify a novel haplotype of Aphanomyces astaci, d3-haplotype, hosted by P. clarkii. Overall, our findings demonstrate the first two cases of crayfish plague in Japan, and the first case in a non-European native crayfish species, which originated from the red swamp crayfish P. clarkii. This finding is a matter of concern for the conservation of the native freshwater species of Japan and also highlights the risk of introducing crayfish carrier species into biogeographic regions harboring species susceptible to the crayfish plague.