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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Total soluble proteins extracted from the tail muscles of 6 commercially cultured species of crayfishes were separated using isoelectric focusing (IEF). The banding patterns produced could be used to successfully identify 5 of the 6 species. Unique protein bands at pI 5.75 and 6.02 were identified for Pacifasticus leniusculus. A unique group of 3 protein bands were identified between pI 5.46 and 5.6 in Cherax quadricarinatus. Two species of Orconectes, O. virilis and O. rusticus, were identified by a pattern shift in a pair of protein bands between pI 5.1 and 5.3. The only 2 species that could not be distinguished from each other based on their protein banding patterns were Procambarus clarkii and P. zonangulus. However, these 2 members of the genus Procambarus could be differentiated from the other species examined by the presence of a protein band at pI 5.1 not found in the other species. Species-specific protein banding patterns were observed in juveniles, females, and Form I and Form II males, suggesting that the patterns used for species identification do not appear to be dependent on age or sex. Furthermore, these protein banding patterns were not dependent on the molt stage. The analysis of IEF of soluble proteins, coupled with the analysis of traditional morphological characteristics, may be a valuable tool for species identification in crayfish.


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