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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 130:209-219 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03275

Aphanomyces astaci genotypes involved in recent crayfish plague outbreaks in central Italy

Riccardo Caprioli1,*, Agata Mrugała2, Marco Di Domenico1, Valentina Curini1, Carla Giansante1, Cesare Cammà1, Adam Petrusek2

1Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise ‘G. Caporale’, 64100 Teramo, Italy
2Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, 12844 Prague 2, Czech Republic
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The oomycete Aphanomyces astaci is the causative agent of crayfish plague in native European freshwater crayfish. Molecular analyses showed that several distinct genotype groups of this pathogen, apparently associated with different original host taxa, are present in Europe. Tracking their distribution may contribute to understanding the introduction pathways of A. astaci. We used microsatellite markers to genotype the pathogen strains involved in 7 mass mortalities of the endangered indigenous crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes that occurred between 2009 and 2016 in the Abruzzi and Molise regions, central Italy. Three A. astaci genotype groups (A, B, and D, with the latter represented by 2 distinct multilocus genotypes) were identified, suggesting the existence of multiple infection sources even in a relatively small area. Most crayfish plague episodes were due to genotype groups associated with the North American host species Pacifastacus leniusculus and Procambarus clarkii, although these crayfish are not widespread in the study area. A. astaci genotype group A was detected not only in crayfish plague outbreaks but also in apparently healthy Astacus leptodactylus imported for human consumption from Armenia and kept alive in an aquaculture facility. Imports of chronically infected A. leptodactylus from Armenia, Turkey, and possibly Eastern Europe are an underestimated introduction pathway for A. astaci. Although we cannot exclude the presence of latently infected native populations of A. pallipes in the region, A. astaci infections in legally imported crayfish species considered vulnerable to crayfish plague may represent further reservoirs of A. astaci; this should be reflected in the policies regulating the trade of live crayfish.


KEY WORDS: Invasive crayfish · Aphanomyces astaci · Microsatellite genotyping · Crayfish plague · Disease control · Austropotamobius pallipes · Italy


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Cite this article as: Caprioli R, Mrugała A, Di Domenico M, Curini V, Giansante C, Cammà C, Petrusek A (2018) Aphanomyces astaci genotypes involved in recent crayfish plague outbreaks in central Italy. Dis Aquat Org 130:209-219. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03275

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