Crayfish for Everyone

The White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) is one of the UK’s largest freshwater invertebrates and is our only native crayfish.

The White-clawed crayfish was once a widespread and common species in English and Welsh rivers, but has suffered a decline of 50 – 80% across its European range in the last ten years and is classified as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN red list of threatened species and is at risk of global extinction.

Many populations of White-clawed crayfish have already been lost and most of those remaining in streams and rivers are at risk of extinction in the future. The decline has been caused by invasive, non-native crayfish species such as the American Signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), which spread of a disease known as crayfish plague, habitat degradation and pollution.

Invasive crayfish are a particular problem for White-clawed crayfish and for the health and ecology of the UK’s river habitats. You can learn more on both invasive invertebrate species and the non-native invaders here in the UK.

The spread of invasive species and their disease put native crayfish and our rivers at risk but you can help Stop the Spread by following the Check, Clean Dry code and cleaning all your freshwater clothing and equipment thoroughly.

Explore more about the White-clawed crayfish, its biology and life-cycle

Got a question about crayfish in the UK? Then see Crayfish FAQ’s, which provides a summary of subjects that often get asked.

If you’d like to explore further or find out how you can help, you can click on the following links:

  • Crayfish In Crisis – discover more about how and why White-clawed crayfish are under threat in the UK
  • Conserving Our Crayfish – see what is being done by Buglife and other organisations to save our largest invertebrate and how you can get involved.

You can help to protect the White-clawed crayfish by texting CRAY22 followed by how much you’d like to donate, to 70070 to make a donation towards this project.