Common Name: APPALACHIAN BROOK CRAYFISH
Scientific Name: Cambarus (Cambarus) bartonii cavatus Hay
Rarity Ranks: G5/No state ranking
State Legal Status: None
Federal Legal Status: None
Description: The Appalachian Brook Crayfish is probably one of the most variable species in North America. The overall color of this crayfish varies from tan to olive with darker blotches. Usually with two rows of flattened tubercles along the mesial margin of the palm. The areola is moderately wide and the rostrum is typically short, wide, and fairly blunt with no marginal spines or tubercles. This species reaches a maximum total body length of about 100 mm (3.9 in).
Similar Species: No similar species have been collected with Appalachian Brook Crayfish in Georgia.
Habitat: Habitat: The Appalachian Brook Crayfish inhabits nearly all areas of small streams including flowing areas and pools. It is typically found beneath rocks or woody debris, but will also tunnel along the banks of streams among rocks or under logs.
Diet: No studies of the Appalachian Brook Crayfish are known. Crayfishes are considered opportunistic omnivores and likely feed on live and decaying vegetation, aquatic insect larvae, small fishes, and dead animal matter.
Life History: Male Appalachian Brook Crayfish in reproductive condition have been collected in all months except December, January, and February. Several females with eggs were collected in April and June and a single female with young was found in August. The smallest breeding male known is about 40 mm (1.6 in) and the smallest female with eggs is about 38 mm (1.5 in) in length (Hobbs 1981).
Survey Recommendations: Flipping larger rocks in just about any habitat in a stream should turn up this species. The animal can be pinned by hand or gently driven into a dipnet. Excavating burrows along banks may yield specimens as well.
Range: The Appalachian Brook Crayfish is found in northwestern Georgia, eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, western Virginia and West Virginia, and Ohio (Hobbs 1981; 1989).
Threats: This species is apparently secure across its range.
Conservation and Management Recommendations: Conserving populations of the Appalachian Brook Crayfish will require general watershed level protection measures, including the protection of riparian zones, control of sediment and nutrient runoff from farms and construction sites, and limiting the amount of impervious cover (e.g., pavement) within occupied watersheds. Non-native crayfishes should never be used for bait; instead, anglers should use crayfishes collected from the river system where they will be fishing. Unused bait of any kind should not be released back into Georgia waters.
Hobbs, H. H., Jr. 1981. The crayfishes of Georgia. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 318:1-549.
Hobbs, H.H., Jr. 1989. An Illustrated Checklist of the American Crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 480:1-236.
Taylor, C. A., G. A. Schuster, J. E. Cooper, R. J. DiStefano, A. G. Eversole, P. Hamr, H. H. Hobbs III, H. W. Robison, C. E. Skelton, and R. F. Thoma. 2007. A reassessment of the conservation status of crayfishes of the United States and Canada after 10+ years of increased awareness. Fisheries 32(8):372-389.
Date Compiled or Updated: August 2012