The spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus – called also the American crayfish is the most abundant crayfish species in Poland.
The spiny-cheek crayfish was imported to Europe in 1890 from Pennsylvania by Max von dem Borne, a pioneer in fish farming from Germany. About 100 of the spiny-cheek crayfishes were released to about 1000 m2 pond in Barnówek, situated next to the Myśla river close to Dębno Lubuskie (West Pomerania province). From this one site it spread very quickly across Poland and Europe. Its spreading keeps continuing and its pace is estimated at 20 km per year. At present this species is common all over Europe. It is an example of a super organism, which due to crayfish plague resistance, big fecundity and better adaptation to unfavourable habitat changes displaces native crayfish species. This alien species is not a bioindicator of water cleanliness.
The spiny-cheek crayfish is easy to identify according to its size (up to 10-15 cm), lack of the ridge of rostrum, creamy-white bottom of claws and characteristic cherry stripes on abdomen.
You can also find spines on the „cheeks” and on claws of this species – for that reason the American name of this species is the spiny-cheek crayfish.