Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Matthew L. Aardema

Committee Member

Colette Feehan

Committee Member

Meiyin Wu


The Northeast United States has been thoroughly invaded by the well-known invasive crayfish species Faxonius rusticus (rusty crayfish). Similar to the exploration of man to new regions, the spread of invasive species can cause the introduction of new diseases and parasites while conversely the invader has to deal with the already existing diseases and parasites. For crayfish, the most notable of these is a fungal plague, which has a poorly understood distribution in the United States. In this study, I collected rusty crayfish in Northern New Jersey to better understand the locations where they exist in the state. I also dissected a sample of collected individuals to look for various parasites or signs of parasitism. My results suggest that rusty crayfish are more likely to experience parasitism while in a cobble substratum compared to a mud substratum. In addition, most observed signs were primary indicators of the fungal plague. Although rusty crayfish and the fungal plague are well understood separately, these findings indicate that the two organisms need to be looked at more closely together to further clarify how impactful the plague truly is to the rusty crayfish population.

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