Effects of Diclofenac on the embryonic development of freshwater crayfish

Document Type : Original Article


Christian-Albrechts-University, Zoological Institute, Limnology, Kiel Germany


In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the ecotoxicological consequences of the drug Diclofenac on freshwater organisms. Influences on the largest freshwater invertebrates, the freshwater crayfish, are especially interesting in the context of cascading effects due to their important role as keystone species. In this study, lethality, influences on body weight, embryonic development and histological changes in embryos of marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) as well as noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) were investigated in response to their exposure to different concentrations of Diclofenac. Additionally, the suitability of marbled crayfish as a model organism for endemic freshwater crayfish was established when studying the effects of Diclofenac. For both species, lethal effects started at concentrations of 10.24 mg/L Diclofenac, weight was not affected, embryonic development slowed down from concentrations of 0.16 mg/L and histological changes were visible from concentrations of 0.64 mg/L. The similarity of LOEC (Lowest Observed Effect Concentrations) between the two species showed that marbled crayfish can serve as a model for native crayfish when investigating the effects of exposure to Diclofenac.