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News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

Crayfish species proves to be the ultimate survivor

• http://www.bio-medicine.org,
 Scientists analysed the behaviour of red swamp crayfish in Kenya's Lake Naivasha and found that when the water level of the lake was low, the crayfish found additional food sources on land. The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE today (3 August 2012).

Lead author Dr Jonathan Grey from Queen Mary, University of London explained: "These crayfish are incredible survivors; our research shows they are able to feed off terrestrial plants directly, as well as aquatic plants the first study to demonstrate this.

"It has significant implications for anyone looking to introduce these species in other areas."

The research team looked at the diet of the crayfish through a technique called stable isotope analysis, where they used a natural chemical signal of diet in the species' tissues to determine what they were eating.

They found a proportion of the crayfish population had left the main lake and were surviving by burrowing in hippopotamus footprints which left small pools of water. After dark the crayfish clambered out from the footprints and grazed on the surrounding terrestrial plants.

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