Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 11:23 UK

River crayfish colony wiped out

White-clawed crayfish
The agency does not know how the crayfish became infected

A colony of an endangered species of crayfish which lived in a Staffordshire river has been wiped out.

The Environment Agency reported that hundreds of rare white-clawed crayfish in the River Manifold near Wetton Mill had been killed by crayfish plague.

The disease is carried by the American Signal crayfish, a species introduced to the United Kingdom which can resist the plague.

A spokesman said any remaining crayfish downstream would suffer the same fate.

Agency spokesman Phil Wormauld said it was a tragedy for one of the country's rare native species.

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