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    AbstractSeveral freshwater crayfish species, including Procambarus clarkii, are both ecologically important and commercially important benthic macroinvertebrates, remarkable for their potential to adapt and reproduce but also for their unique abilities to face distinct abiotic and biotic environments and become successful invaders. While much work has been done to study crayfish introductions, less focus has been given to how crayfish cope with pollution and other environmental stressors, in terms of physiological responses, and whether crayfish responses can be used to assess the effective state of their living environment. Here, we used a mixed approach combining laboratory experiments with field data to validate the use of hemolymph glucose as a relevant biomarker of red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) stress response. Three meaningful sampling locations were chosen across southern Portugal that are representative of different environments where crayfish live and are frequently captured for human consumption but also correspond to different pollution levels. To reference field measurements of glucose levels, we performed two lab-based experiments: (a) crayfish were exposed to different levels of stress (stress challenge) and (b) crawfish were exposed to a maze dispersal test, with or without water. Crayfish glucose levels were responsive to induced stress but were not correlated with dispersal efforts. Wild crayfish's body condition and stress levels responded differently to environmental conditions, with more challenged individuals showing higher glycemia levels but similar body condition. The glucose levels of the more stressed wild crayfish were visually similar to lab-based crayfish subjected to the higher stress levels (electric shocks), while the levels of glucose of crayfish at the less polluted site corresponded to those measured before the start of the challenge (baseline). The maintenance of high levels of glycemia in crayfish inhabiting more challenging habitats is revealing of their higher energetic demand state. Since P. clarkii ia globally distributed and easily sampled invasive species, quantifying its hemolymph glucose levels can be a particularly useful proxy for assessing environmental quality.


    Marta C Soares, Filipe Banha, Sónia C Cardoso, Mafalda Gama, Raquel Xavier, Laura Ribeiro, Pedro Anastácio. Hemolymph Glycemia as an Environmental Stress Biomarker in the Invasive Red Swamp Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii). Physiological and biochemical zoology : PBZ. 2022 May-Jun;95(3):265-277

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    PMID: 35452379

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