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Posted at 3:15 PM ET, 04/26/2010

Md.'s native crayfish population declining

By Washington Post editors

According to a new study by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, several species of native Maryland crayfish are declining because of the spread of invasive crayfish.

Jay Kilian, a DNR biologist and study author, says Maryland is now home to five nonnative crayfish. Kilian says all five either escaped from aquaculture operations, were discarded as unwanted pets or were used as bait.

One of the most troubling is the rusty crayfish, found in three Maryland watersheds since 2007.

Maryland has 14 native crayfish species, which are a source of food for other species as well as consumers of organic matter. DNR officials say foreign crayfish can outcompete native crayfish and reduce the quality and quantity of food and habitat available to other aquatic animals.

-- Associated Press

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By Washington Post editors  | April 26, 2010; 3:15 PM ET
Tags:  Crayfish, Invasive species, Maryland, Maryland Department of Natural Resources  
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