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Discovery of a new population of the species complex of the white-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes/italicus (Decapoda, Astacidae) in Montenegro, range extension, endangerment, and conservation

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Within the scope of a research project on decapod crustaceans in Montenegrin aquatic ecosystems, a population of white-clawed crayfish of the Austropotamobius pallipes/italicus species complex has been recorded for the first time. Based on an analysis of morphometric and genetic parameters, it has been established that Austropotamobius italicus (Faxon, 1914) and its subspecies meridionalis are distributed in Dalmatia and in the central and southern parts of the Apennine Peninsula. The new finding represents: (1) extension of the known range of the species complex A. pallipes/italicus on the Balkan Peninsula, and (2) determining the limits of the distribution and of this isolated population of that complex. The ascertained characteristics of the white-clawed crayfish’s newly discovered population in Montenegro are significant from the viewpoint of global conservation of the species in question.

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