DAO 103:199-208 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02575

Distribution and epidemiology of genotypes of the crayfish plague agent Aphanomyces astaci from noble crayfish Astacus astacus in Finland

S. Viljamaa-Dirks1,*, S. Heinikainen1, H. Torssonen1, M. Pursiainen2, J. Mattila2, S. Pelkonen1

1Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, OIE reference laboratory for crayfish plague, 70701 Kuopio, Finland
2Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, 40500 Jyväskylä, Finland

ABSTRACT: The crayfish plague agent Aphanomyces astaci was isolated from 69 noble crayfish Astacus astacus samples in Finland between 1996 and 2006. All isolates were genotyped using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR). Altogether, 43 isolates belonged to the genotype group of Astacus strains (As), which is assumed to represent the genotype originally introduced into Europe around 1860 and into Finland in 1893. There were 26 crayfish plague isolates belonging to the group of Pacifastacus strain I (Ps1), which appeared in Europe after the stocking of the North American species signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus. The geographical distribution of the 2 genotypes in Finland corresponded with the stocking strategies of signal crayfish. The majority of Ps1-strains (83%) were associated with a classical crayfish plague episode involving acute mortality, compared with only 33% of the As-strains. As-strains were found more often by searching for reasons for population declines or permanently weak populations, or through cage experiments in connection with reintroduction programmes. In some water bodies, isolations of the As-strains were made in successive years. This study shows that persistent crayfish plague infection is not uncommon in noble crayfish populations. The described epidemiological features suggest a difference in virulence between these 2 genotypes.


KEY WORDS: Crayfish plague · Aphanomyces astaci · RAPD-PCR · Oomycete · Virulence


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Cite this article as: Viljamaa-Dirks S, Heinikainen S, Torssonen H, Pursiainen M, Mattila J, Pelkonen S (2013) Distribution and epidemiology of genotypes of the crayfish plague agent Aphanomyces astaci from noble crayfish Astacus astacus in Finland. Dis Aquat Org 103:199-208. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02575

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