One of the most critical challenges in species distribution modelling is testing and validating various digitally derived environmental predictors (e.g., remote-sensing variables, topographic variables) by field data. Therefore, here we aimed to explore the value of soil properties in the spatial distribution of four European indigenous crayfish species. A database with 473 presence and absence locations in Romania for Austropotamobius bihariensis
, Astacus astacus
and Pontastacus leptodactylus
was used in relation to eight digitalised soil properties. Using random forest modelling, we found a preference for dense soils with lower coarse fragments content together with deeper sediment cover and higher clay values for A
. These descriptors trigger the need for cohesive soil river banks as the microenvironment for building their burrows. Conversely, species that can use banks with higher coarse fragments content, the highland species A
, prefer soils with slightly thinner sediment cover and lower density while not influenced by clay/sand content. Of all species, A
was found related with higher erosive soils. The value of these soil-related digital descriptors may reside in the improvement of approaches in crayfish species distribution modelling to gain adequate conservation measures.
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