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Freshwater Crayfish 19(1): 53-62 (2013)


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Effect of pH on growth and survival in the freshwater crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes

Haddaway NR, Mortimer RJG, Christmas M and Dunn AM  e-mail link

Published Online: 2/15/2013


Conservation of endangered British crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) involves translocation to isolated waterbodies (Ark Sites) and reintroductions from hatchery stock. The species is restricted in the wild to relatively alkaline waterbodies. The optimum pH conditions that maximise growth and survival are unknown. This information would benefit the selection of Ark Sites and hatchery water chemistry. Here we measure growth and survival of juvenile A. pallipes in the laboratory using three pH levels from within the species’ natural range. Survival at pH 8.6 was high (94%), whereas that at lower pH levels was low (pH 6.5, 25%; pH 7.1, 34%). Growth (moult increment and frequency) was also higher at pH 8.6. Survival was also lower for Thelohania contejeani-infected animals, with a trend towards higher mortality in infected individuals at lower pH. Electron microscopy revealed a lower cuticle thickness at pH 6.5 than higher pH which was associated with an apparent increase in the number of endocuticle layers. We therefore recommend that high pH (ca. 8.6) be used as a target for Ark Site selection and hatchery water chemistry in order to maximise survival and growth.

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How to Cite

Haddaway NR, Mortimer RJG, Christmas M and Dunn AM. (2013). Effect of pH on growth and survival in the freshwater crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes. Freshwater Crayfish 19(1):53-62. doi: 10.5869/fc.2013.v19.053



Author Information

Neal R. Haddaway,* Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology, L C Miall Building,Leeds, West Yorkshire, UKLS2 9JT. E-mail:

Robert J. Mortimer, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Maths/Earth and Environment Building, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UKLS2 9JT. E-mail:

Martin  Christmas, n/a, Environment Agency, Rivers House, 21 Park Square South,Leeds, West Yorkshire, UKLS1 2QG. E-mail:

Alison M. Dunn, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Manton Building, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UKLS2 9JT. E-mail:

Corresponding Author indicated by an *.


Publication History

   Manuscript Submitted: 11/30/2010

   Manuscript Accepted: 10/23/2012

   Published Online: 2/15/2013

   Published in Print: 2/15/2013



Funding Information

No specific funding statement is available for this article.






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