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c doughertyensis

Common Name:  DOUGHERTY BURROWING CRAYFISH

Scientific Name:  Cambarus (Depressicambarus) doughertyensis Cooper and Skelton

Rarity Ranks:  G1G2/S1

State Legal Status:  Endangered

Federal Legal Status:  None

Description:  The body of the Dougherty Burrowing Crayfish is a brownish-orange and the claws somewhat brighter orange.  The areola is obliterated and the abdomen is obviously narrower than the cephalothorax.  Claws of adults can be robust and there are two rows of tubercles along the mesial margin of the palm.  This species reaches a maximum total body length of about 75 mm (3 in).

Similar Species:  No other burrowing species are known from the location where this crayfish is found.

Habitat:  This species inhabits complex burrows in a wooded wetland.

Diet:  No studies of the Dougherty Burrowing Crayfish are known and the diet of burrowing crayfishes in general is poorly understood.  Crayfishes are considered opportunistic omnivores and likely feed on a variety of items, both plant and animal, living or dead.  Burrowing crayfishes may forage around the mouths of their burrows, eat organisms that crawl or fall into the burrow, or eat worms that inadvertently tunnel through a burrow wall. 

Life History:  Male Dougherty Burrowing Crayfish in reproductive condition have been collected in March, May, and July; no females with eggs have been found.  On two occasions (February and March), multiple juveniles about 10-15 mm (0.4-0.6 in) total length were found in the same burrow and probably represent young of the year (Cooper and Skelton 2003).

Survey Recommendations:  Burrowing crayfishes may be collected by direct excavation of their burrows, by trapping, and during night surveys.  Excavating burrows is time consuming and can be very difficult.  It also results in destruction of the animal’s burrow.  Traps made with PVC pipes or mist nets can be effective.  Burrowing crayfishes are sometimes captured around the openings of their burrows on damp nights.  Active burrows are found from about late-March to mid-November if the water table is within about two feet of the surface of the ground.

Range:  The Dougherty Burrowing Crayfish is known only from the Albany Nursery (Lawrence Pearce) Wildlife Management Area in Dougherty County, in the Kiokee Creek system.  Targeted surveys will almost certainly reveal its presence at additional locations in the lower Flint River system.

Threats:  Small range size is the only current threat facing this species.

Conservation and Management Recommendations:  Protected species regulations protect the habitat of state listed animals on state owned lands.  Accordingly, land management activities occurring on the Wildlife Management Area should be coordinated through the Nongame Conservation Section of the Department of Natural Resources.  In addition, access to the only known site should be restricted.  Additional surveys are needed to better define the range of this species and to identify additional populations for protection.

Selected References:

Cooper, J. E. and C. E. Skelton. 2003. New burrowing crayfish of the genus Cambarus Erichson, 1846 (Decapoda: Cambaridae) from the lower Flint River basin in the Dougherty Plain of Georgia, with notes on C. (D.) harti Hobbs, 1981.  Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 116(3):827-838.

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.

cambarus doughertyensis map

Date Compiled or Updated:  September 2012

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