Louisiana Crawfish: White Spot Virus in Ponds

Crawfish ponds. Photo: LSU AgCenter

White Spot Syndrome Virus has popped up again this season. So far I’ve only talked to a handful of farmers that were affected but I suspect that many more acres were hit.

If you think you’ve experienced the symptoms listed below, please call or email me so we can measure the magnitude of the problem

Symptoms of White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) are:

  • Large numbers of dead, floating crawfish windblown to one side of the pond.
  • A drastic drop in catch over a few days or week.
  • Some medium to large crawfish dead in the trap with live, active young crawfish.
  • Infected crawfish are sluggish, cannot right themselves if laid on their side and cannot let go once they pinch with their claws.
  • Insects and other animal life in the pond are not affected.

The Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (LADDL) at the LSU Vet School can test crawfish for the presence of the WSSV. The test can detect the presence of the virus DNA and cost about $35 to run.  Collect 25-30 live crawfish from the pond and deliver to the lab either chilled or frozen.

Deliver or ship samples to Room 1043, LADDL Building, River Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. Prior to delivery, contact Dr. John Hawke at either 225-578-9705 or 225-578-9672 or LADDL Receiving at 225-578-9778.  A map and further information is on the lab’s website.


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