White-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes
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The white-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet), is protected under annexes II and V of the Habitats Directive, Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Schedule 5 of the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). It is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and a Species Action Plan has been prepared to encourage measures for its survival.
The white-clawed crayfish is confined to Europe and ranges east to west from Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Austria, to Spain, France and the British Isles, where it reaches its most westerly and northerly limits (Holdich 1996). The populations in the British Isles represent the greatest concentration of the species in Europe. Isolated populations are also known from Germany and Portugal.
Populations in Europe are more sporadic now than earlier in the century due to habitat modification, pollution, crayfish plague and competition from introduced crayfish species. There is an urgent need to conserve remaining populations, and means of reinstating them are being investigated.
By David Gerke (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons