Prized as one of the traditional culinary dishes of New Orleans, the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) has a very different meaning in Italy. After being introduced in the 1970s, the red swamp crayfish has proven to be one of the most successful invasive species in Italian freshwater environments. Annalisa Paglianti and Francesca Gherardi from the University of Florence in a recent study compared the growth of both the native crayfish (Austrioitamobius pallipes) and the red swamp crayfish with respect to temperature and food diet. They found that the in increased temperatures, an increasingly more common characteristic in Europe, the red swamp crayfish grew at a significantly faster rate than the native species. They also found that identical diets produced faster and larger growth in the red swamp crayfish. These findings have led scientists to theorize that the success of the red swamp crayfish in Italy may be due to these characteristic. However, this theory represents only a small portion of the complex interaction of the red swamp crayfish in Italy.
Journal of Crustacean Biology. 2004. doi: 10.1651/c-2374