Lobster like crayfish found in the canal at Wendover near Aylesbury

Sightings of American native species not uncommon in waterways

By Olga Norford
Monday, 11th October 2021, 10:11 am
Updated Monday, 11th October 2021, 10:14 am

You could be forgiven for thinking there was something fishy about this unusual catch found in the Wendover Arm canal at the rear of Wenwell Close on Friday (9/10).

Janey Thorne sent in these photos of an 'aggressive' looking crayfish which measured about 5-6in, and had pinkish colouring on the end of its pincers/claws.

But sightings of crayfish are not uncommon. It has since been returned to the canal - to be reunited with other members of the species which have infiltrated the waters of the Grand Union Canal.

Stephen Thorne examines the crayfish caught ,in the Wendover Arm canal at the back of Wenwell Close, before returning it to the water

The red signal crayfish are actually a native of the south-eastern United States, which were initially brought over to the UK for food, but have since got into the waterways. They breed prolifically, having also been spotted in London's Regent's Canal, but they are not a 'fisherman's friend' instead, described by anglers as a menace as they eat bait and are an invasive species that cause damage to smaller native crayfish and the waterways.

The signal crayfish is lobster-like in appearance and reaches a maximum size of 16-18cm. In comparison, the native white-clawed crayfish is much smaller (under 12cm), with a brown to olive pitted body. Native crayfish are a protected species – you can only trap them for scientific purposes and not to eat or sell.

The 'aggressive' looking crayfish had pinkish colouring on the end of its pincers/claws and measured about 5-6in