Crayfish

Crayfish

Two types of crayfish are known to inhabit the waters at Huntley Meadows Park: a native species; and a non-native species.

We believe our native species is Cambarus diogenes [known as “chimney crayfish”], although we’re not positive about the species. Source Credit: Mr. Kevin Munroe, Park Manager at Huntley Meadows.

The non-native species is “red swamp crayfish” (Procambarus clarkii), according to Ms. Kat Dyer, a long-time volunteer at Huntley Meadows Park also known as the “Crayfish Lady.” Ms. Dyer is now a part-time naturalist at the park.

The crayfish, shown above, was spotted alongside the boardwalk in the hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows on 24 August 2014. I consulted the local experts for help in identifying the species.

Crayfish are just real hard to ID! You have to have a mature male, and you need to look at the tiny appendages under the abdomen to make a positive ID. My guess is that it’s the [non-native] exotic species since you found it in the wetland rather than in the streams/woods. Source Credit: Kevin Munroe, Park Manager at Huntley Meadows.

Crayfish is an important organism in the wetlands ecosystem food web. Many animals prey upon crayfish, including fish, raccoons, otters, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets. Brush shelters (that resemble large, man-made beaver lodges) located in the 50-acre central wetland area provide egg-laying habitat for crayfish.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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