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Environmental DNA (eDNA) detects the invasive crayfishes Orconectes rusticus and Pacifastacus leniusculus in large lakes of North America
AuthorLarson, Eric R.
Renshaw, Mark A.
Gantz, Crysta A.
Lodge, David M.
Egan, Scott P.
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We report results of a study that made reciprocal comparisons of environmental DNA (eDNA) assays for two major invasive crayfishes between their disparate invasive ranges in North America. Specifically, we tested for range expansions of the signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus (Dana, 1852) into the Laurentian Great Lakes region known to be invaded by the rusty crayfish Orconectes rusticus (Girard, 1852), as well as for the invasion of O. rusticus into large lakes of California and Nevada, US known to be invaded by P. leniusculus. We compared eDNA detections to historic localities for O. rusticus within the Great Lakes, and to recent sampling for presence/absence and relative abundance of P. leniusculus in California and Nevada via overnight sets of baited traps. We successfully detected O. rusticus eDNA at six sites from the Great Lakes and P. leniusculus from six of seven lakes where it was known to occur in California and Nevada, but did not detect any range expansions by either species across the North American continent. eDNA appears suitable to detect benthic arthropods from exceptionally large lakes, and will likely be useful in applications for monitoring of new biological invasions into these and other freshwater and marine habitats.