Lake Hańcza – a new site for signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus Dana) occurrence in Poland

  • Dariusz Ulikowski
  • Łucjan Chybowski
Keywords: crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus, Lake Hańcza, Orconectes limosus, co-existence


Crayfish catches were conducted using traps in Lake Hańcza, which is the deepest lake in Poland. Two crayfish populations were found to co-exist in the lake: spiny-cheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus Raf.) and signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus Dana), which is a new species for this lake. Signal crayfish dominated the samples at 98.5% of the specimens caught. The crayfish occurred at depths of 1-10 m. The mean total body length of the male and female signal crayfish (TL) was 99.5 ± 17.8 mm and 96.5 ± 11.7 mm, respectively, while the average body weight (BW) was 38.7 ± 24.9 g and 26.8 ± 9.5, respectively. Chelae were damaged in 4.5% of the individuals. Fishing efficiency (catch per unit effort – CPUE) was 0.96 crayfish trap-1 night-1. Selected characteristics of the population and of individual signal crayfish from Lake Hańcza were compared with those of the two closest neighboring populations of this species in lakes Mauda and Pobłędzie. The confirmed occurrence of the relatively large signal crayfish population in Lake Hańcza excludes this lake as a possible site for native noble crayfish (Astacus astacus L.) restoration.


D. Ulikowski [+], Ł. Chybowski,
Department of Lake Fisheries
Inland Fisheries Institute in Olsztyn, Poland
Rajska 2, 11-500 Giżycko