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Title: Protecting native crayfish in the Midlands
Author: Environment Agency Midlands Region
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: EA additional title info: The Crayfish code
Britain's freshwaters are home to a single species of crayfish known as the native or white-clawed crayfish. This fascinating creature is equally at home in still or running freshwater, where it leads a secretive and largely nocturnal existence. Its presence is an indication of good water quality and it plays an important role in the aquatic ecosystem, foraging for a variety of foods from fallen leaves to shrimps and snails, and itself falling prey to larger animals such as heron, trout, chub, eel and otter. The Midlands has long been a stronghold of the native crayfish, which may still be found in a number of our clean waters including upland streams and lowland rivers, lakes and deep reservoirs. However, the future of the species in our region is now in doubt, with recent years seeing a decline in numbers both here and in other parts of the country. The native crayfish is vulnerable to pollution, disturbance and to loss of habitat. It also faces a growing threat from introduced species of non-native or alien crayfish. These species, such as the North American signal crayfish, are often more aggressive and have been illegally introduced to the wild or escaped from crayfish farms and ponds. Non-native crayfish are quite capable of walking overland in their search for a home and will rapidly colonise freshwaters, killing or displacing native crayfish, damaging river banks and disturbing the natural balance of our aquatic systems. More deadly still, introduced crayfish can carry a virulent disease, known as crayfish plague, which spreads rapidly among our vulnerable native species and can wipe out entire populations of crayfish.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Publication Date: [after 1996]
Publication Place: Solihull
Subject Keywords: CrayfishNature conservationEndangered species
Geographic Keywords: Midlands (England)
Extent: n.p. [2]
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