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Document Type

Peer-Review Article

Abstract

The rapid northward range expansion of the rusty crayfish, Orconectes rusticus, and its negative effects on Wisconsin lakes have been the subjects of intense study throughout the last fifteen years. In this study, we investigated the possible impact of rusty crayfish on the benthic macroinvertebrate community structure of the Prairie River in north-central Wisconsin. Rusty crayfish and other invertebrates were collected during August and September, 1994, from three sections of the Prairie River. Rusty crayfish relative abundance increased significantly from the upper to middle, and middle to lower sections; and correlated negatively with a significant 77% decrease in total density of aquatic invertebrates between sections. Mean density of all important invertebrate families and trophic guilds decreased significantly between the upper and lower sections. Due to the similarity of most environmental conditions between river sections, decrease of invertebrates is attributed to the increased abundance of rusty crayfish and its interactions with the native rouna. Our results suggest that a high abundance of rusty crayfish may negatively impact Wisconsin lotic systems.

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Entomology Commons

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