Pontastacus leptodactylus

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Pontastacus leptodactylus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocyemata
Family: Astacidae
Genus: Pontastacus
P. leptodactylus
Binomial name
Pontastacus leptodactylus
(Eschscholtz, 1823)
  • Astacus leptodactylus Eschscholtz, 1823
  • Astacus angulosus Rathke, 1837
  • Astacus leptodactylus boreoorientalis Birstein & Vinogradov, 1934
  • Astacus (Pontastacus) leptodactylus leptodactylus natio intermedius Karaman, 1963
  • Astacus (Pontastacus) leptodactylus leptodactylus natio caeareensis Pretzmann, 1973

Pontastacus leptodactylus,[2] the Danube crayfish,[3] Galician crayfish,[3] Turkish crayfish[4] or narrow-clawed crayfish, is a relatively large and economically important species of crayfish native to fresh and brackish waters in eastern Europe and western Asia, mainly in the Pontic–Caspian region, among others including the basins of the Black Sea, and the Danube, Dnieper, Don and Volga rivers, as well as aquatic systems in Turkey.[1][5][6] It has spread widely beyond its native range, beginning in the 1700s when it spread via canals constructed in western Russia and since the 1900s through introducions to many regions for human consumption.[7] Today it is widespread throughout much of Europe.[1][5]


Pontastacus leptodactylus can grow up to 30 centimetres (12 in) in length from the tip of the rostrum to the end of the telson (tail), but is more commonly found at around 15 cm (6 in) in length. The sides of the thorax are very rough, usually pale yellow to pale green in colour. P. leptodactylus has two pairs of post-orbital ridges, the second of which may have spines. It also has a prominent tubercle (small nodule) on shoulder of the carapace. The claws of Pontastacus leptodactylus are long and narrow (hence the common name 'narrow-clawed crayfish'). Their upper surface is rough and the underside is the same colour as the body. A tubercle can be found on the fixed side of the claw. P. leptodactylus can be distinguished most easily from the European or broad-fingered crayfish, Astacus astacus, by the relatively thinner "fingers" of the claws. Further studies done on the Pontastacus leptodactylus found that they can be co-infected by two or more different pathogens. A study done by R. Salighehzadeh saw that after collecting 10 narrow-clawed crayfish found that they contained 2 pathogenic isolates simultaneously, the Aeromonas hydrophilia and Fusarium solani.[8]

The Galician Crayfish has long narrow claws
Closeup of the Galician Crayfish


Pontastacus leptodactylus is fairly docile, especially the male with large claws, and favours relatively still fresh and brackish waters such as lakes, lagoons and canals, as well as running waters in rivers. It is listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Gherardi, F. & Souty-Grosset, C. 2017. Pontastacus leptodactylus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017. Downloaded on 25 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b Crandall, Keith A; De Grave, Sammy (2017). "An updated classification of the freshwater crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidea) of the world, with a complete species list". Journal of Crustacean Biology. 37 (5): 615–653. doi:10.1093/jcbiol/rux070.
  3. ^ a b James W. Fetzner Jr. (January 14, 2008). "Astacus leptodactylus (Eschscholtz, 1823): Danube crayfish, Galician Crayfish". Crayfish Taxon Browser. Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
  4. ^ "Astacus leptodactylus – Turkish Crayfish". UK non-native organism risk assessment scheme version 3.3. DEFRA. Archived from the original on 25 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b Kouba, A.; Petrusek, A.; Kozák, P. (2014). "Continental-wide distribution of crayfish species in Europe: update and maps". Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems. 413: 05. doi:10.1051/kmae/2014007.
  6. ^ Harlioğlu, M.M. (2004). "The present situation of freshwater crayfish, Astacus leptodactylus (Eschscholtz, 1823) in Turkey". Aquaculture. 230 (1–4): 181–187. doi:10.1016/S0044-8486(03)00429-0.
  7. ^ Berezina, N.A.; Terentiev, P.M.; Sharov, A.N.; Maximov, A.A. (2021). "New records and disappearance from old sites of narrow-clawed crayfish Pontastacus leptodactylus in northwestern Russia". BioInvasions Records. 10 (4): 894–903. doi:10.3391/bir.2021.10.4.14.
  8. ^ Salighehzadeh, Reza; Sharifiyazdi, Hassan; Akhlaghi, Mostafa; Khalafian, M.; Gholamhosseini, Amin & Soltanian, S. (31 December 2018). "Molecular and clinical evidence of Aeromonas hydrophila and Fusarium solani co-infection in narrow-clawed crayfish Astacus leptodactylus". Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 132 (2): 135–141. doi:10.3354/dao03309. ISSN 0177-5103 – via ResearchGate.
  9. ^ F. Gherardi & C. Souty-Grosset (2017). "Pontastacus leptodactylus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T153745A120103207. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T153745A120103207.en.

External links[edit]

Media related to Astacus leptodactylus at Wikimedia Commons