The susceptibility of two species of freshwater crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus and Astacus astacus, to white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) by intramuscular injection was compared and the results show that both species are susceptible to WSSV. The effect of water temperature on the development of white spot disease in crayfish was also studied. Crayfish were exposed to different temperatures after WSSV injection or oral exposure and the mortalities were recorded over a period of 45 days. No mortality was observed when crayfish were held at 4 plus or minus 2 degree C or 12 plus or minus 2 degree C and reached 100% when these crayfish transferred to 22 plus or minus 2 degree C. The mortalities of nearly moribund crayfish at 22 plus or minus 2 degree C with WSSV could be delayed after transfer to temperature below 16 degree C. These results clearly show that low temperature affects the WSSV pathogenicity in crayfish. Moreover, haemocyte counts, phenoloxidase activity, mRNA levels of prophenoloxidase (proPO) and the lipopolysaccharide and beta -1,3-glucan binding protein (LGBP) in crayfish exposed to various water temperatures were studied. Total haemocyte and granular cell counts of crayfish held at different temperatures were not significantly (P>0.05) different, except for the total haemocyte number at 18 degree C was significantly (P0.05) higher than in crayfish at 4 degree C. The percentage of granular cells in crayfish held at 4 degree C was the highest compared to crayfish maintained at other temperatures. The phenoloxidase activities in haemocyte lysate supernatant (HLS) of crayfish at all temperature groups remained similar. The amount of proPO-mRNAs in haemocytes was much higher than the amount of LGBP-m RNAs in all the experimental groups. However, there was no change in the level of pro PO-mRNA at the tested temperatures. Interestingly, the level of LGBP-mRNA of crayfish kept at 22 degree C was much lower than in those held at lower temperatures. Proliferation of the haematopoietic tissues was higher at high temperatures which may support replication of WSSV, and explain the high mortality of crayfish with WSSV infection at high temperature. Based on these studies it is concluded that crayfish might act as a carrier of WSSV at low water temperature and could develop white spot disease if the water temperature is increased.