There are three indigenous crayfish species reported for Europe; The white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes occupies the Western and Southern areas of Europe; The noble crayfish Astacus astacus is the most common European species and is found throughout the continent. The stone crayfish Austropotamobius torrentium is relatively rare, and is mostly found in tributaries of the Danube.
Most countries contain a number of crayfish species; however only the White Clawed Crayfish occurs in Ireland and is stronghold of the white-clawed crayfish in Europe.
It is also Ireland’s only crayfish species and we hope that it stays that way. Other non-native crayfish species which have been introduced to Britain are as follows.
- Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus
- Narrow-clawed (or Turkish) crayfish Astacus leptodactylus
- Red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii
- Spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus
- Virile crayfish Orconectes virilis
- Noble crayfish Astacus astacus
Download the NPWS ‘Crayfish Leaflet‘ for more information.
See the leaflet ‘Crayfish Identification, Distribution and Legislation‘ for more information.
For further information please also see this leaflet from Buglife entitled ‘Invasive Crayfish Species‘.
There is a risk in the future that these species could also be introduced to Ireland or Northern Ireland.