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Devil Crayfish

Cambarus diogenes

The devil crayfish is one of the most widespread crayfish species in North America. (Mean and Pinchy/Flickr)
The devil crayfish is one of the most widespread crayfish species in North America. (Mean and Pinchy/Flickr)

The devil crayfish is a brownish red crustacean that resembles a miniature lobster. They typically have red-tipped claws. They can be found burrowing in forested areas where the water table is near the surface.

Appearance:

  • Look like miniature lobsters, are related to crabs and shrimps
  • Display a variety of colors, including brown, reddish brown, blue and green
  • Grow to be 3 to 4 ½ inches in length

Habitat:

  • Live in forested habitats where the water table is near the surface
  • Prefer habitats with fine sediment

Range:

  • One of the most widespread crayfish species in North America, the devil crayfish can be found in every state east of the Rocky Mountains and south of New York and New Jersey

Feeding:

  • Scavengers that feed most often on decaying aquatic vegetation
  • Will also consume dead animal matter, snails, insects and aquatic worms

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Mating rituals last about 30 minutes
  • Females lay eggs in late spring, attaching them to their abdomen to protect them during the brooding process
  • Baby crayfish stay attached to their mother until they have completed their second molt, at which point they drop off and live independently
  • Adults live for two to three years on average

Other Facts:

  • The burrows of devil crayfish can be recognized by their cone-shaped “mud chimney” entryways.
  • Devil crayfish are nocturnal, unless emerging from their burrow to breed.
  • Localized population declines can occur as a result of pollution related to agricultural and stormwater runoff. 

Sources and Additional Information:




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