Red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkia, found in South Africa 22 years after attempted eradication
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1. No freshwater crayfish are indigenous to continental Africa, but four species have been introduced to the continent. One of these is the North American red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii, which has been introduced into several African countries, mainly for aquaculture, and has had demonstrable impacts where it has escaped captivity. In South Africa, the documentation of this species in farm dams near Dullstroom and the adjacent Crocodile River in 1988 resulted in an eradication attempt in 1994, with unknown results. 2. In order to evaluate the status of P. clarkii in South Africa, dams on the previously invaded farm and the Crocodile River were sampled four times between December 2015 and June 2016 using visual surveys, trapping, dipnetting and electrofishing. This yielded a single reproductively active male P. clarkii from one of the farm ponds, while many other native aquatic species were found in high numbers. 3. It is clear from this study that P. clarkii was not eradicated in South Africa and that individuals have been surviving in the wild (i.e. outside captivity or cultivation) for at least 28 years in the location where it was introduced. Containment and eradication of the species are proposed as management actions, which have major importance in preventing undesirable further spread or translocation of this species into new aquatic environments in South Africa.