Common Name: BOXCLAW CRAYFISH
Scientific Name: Cambarus (Jugicambarus) distans Rhoades
Rarity Ranks: G5/S1
State Legal Status: None
Federal Legal Status: None
Description: This a generally drab crayfish with overall colors of olive and tan. The carapace and abdomen have a mottled appearance; rostral margins darker than surrounding areas. The claws are brownish and there is a single row of well-developed tubercles along the mesial margin of the palm. The areola is wide and the rostrum is short and narrows quickly creating a short acumen. This species reaches a maximum total body length of about 65 mm (2.6 in)
Similar Species: This is the only species of crayfish collected within its range in Georgia.
Habitat: The Boxclaw Crayfish is found hiding beneath rocks and debris in stream and spring run habitats.
Diet: No studies of the Coosa 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: No information on breeding condition males or females is available for this species in Georgia.
Survey Recommendations: This species can be collected by carefully removing large rocks (or other debris) and either pinning the crayfish by hand, or coaxing into a dipnet. The use of minnow traps set overnight would probably be effective as well.
Range: The range of the Boxclaw Crayfish barely penetrates Georgia. It is currently known only from a single stream (Murphy Hollow Creek) in Dade County in northwestern Georgia. This species is primarily distributed along the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee and Kentucky (Hobbs 1981; 1989).
Threats: This species is apparently secure across its range.
Conservation and Management Recommendations: Conserving populations of the Boxclaw 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