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Comparative karyotype investigations in the white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet, 1858) species complex and stone crayfish A. torrentium (Schrank, 1803) (Decapoda: Astacidae)

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We report for the first time the chromosome number and karyological characteristics of the endangered European freshwater crayfish genus Austropotamobius (Decapoda, Astacidae). The karyotypes of the white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes species complex) and of the stone crayfish (A. torrentium) consisted of 2 n = 176 chromosomes arranged into 76 metacentric, 11 metacentric-submetacentric, and one heteromorphic acrocentric/metacentric chromosome pair. Fluorochrome staining with 4,6-diamino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) revealed distinctive centromeric/pericentromeric as well as interstitial AT-rich blocks in A. pallipes and A. torrentium. Centromeric/pericentromeric AT-rich blocks were observed on all chromosomes, whereas interstitial AT-rich blocks were observed on some chromosomes, mostly on the larger ones. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with the 45S rDNA probe on mitotic metaphases of A. pallipes and A. torrentium have revealed four major Texas-red signals, corresponding to four sites of 45S rDNA. One of the two 45S rDNA-bearing chromosome pairs was highly heteromorphic, considering the length of chromosomes as well as the size and intensity of 45S rDNA FISH signal. We speculate that the heteromorphic chromosome pair might represents X and Y sex chromosomes, suggesting the presence of XX-XY sex determination system in the A. pallipes species complex and A. torrentium.

Affiliations: 1: 1Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Department of Biology, Division of Molecular Biology, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia; 2: 2Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Department of Biology, Division of Zoology, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia


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