South West Water is using highly trained conservation detection dogs to find invasive signal crayfish in Devon.

Sid, an eight-year-old black Labrador and River, a three-year-old Cocker Spaniel are being used in areas such as Roadford Lake to help control the growing population of invasive crayfish.

The invasive American signal crayfish can have a devastating impact on native wildlife, eating a wide range of invertebrates and small fish, and carrying crayfish plague that destroys the native white clawed crayfish population.

The dogs search for live and dead crayfish to identify presence or likely absence of the species so qualified ecologists can confirm and report the findings to highlight areas for future trapping.

South West Water’s Biosecurity and Invasives Manager, Kate Hills, said: “Invasive non-native species are one of the top five threats to biodiversity and American Signal Crayfish are recognised as one of the worst.

“This species is currently known to be present in just two of our 21 reservoirs across Devon and Cornwall and by using dogs to search for them, alongside our traditional methods, we can cover a wider area much faster than people can and detect crayfish where there are only limited signs.”

South West Water is asking anyone who sees an American Signal Crayfish at one of its reservoirs to report the sighting by emailing [email protected]