Common Name: LONGNOSE CRAYFISH
Scientific Name: Cambarus (Hiaticambarus) longirostris Faxon
Rarity Ranks: G5Q/S1
State Legal Status: None
Federal Legal Status: None
Description: The overall color of the Longnose Crayfish is light brown or olive to orangish-brown with no obvious markings. There are thin reddish bands at the rear of each abdominal segment. There is a single row of nearly indistinguishable tubercles along the mesial margin of the palm and there is gap between the fingers of the claws when the fingers are closed. There is a usually a tuft of hairlike setae at the base of the fixed finger of the claw. The areola is wide and the rostrum is fairly long and tapering with no marginal tubercles. The largest specimen reported for Georgia has a total body length of about 66 mm (2.6 in).
Similar Species: In most of the areas where Longnose Crayfish occurs, it is the only species whose claws show a large gap between the fingers when the fingers are closed. In tributaries to the Tennessee River in northwestern Georgia it has been found with Tanback Crayfish, Cambarus girardianus which also has the gaping claw characteristic. However Tanback Crayfish has a striking pattern with a dark brown saddle behind the areola and a broad dark stripe down the center of the abdomen.
Habitat: The Longnose Crayfish is a stream dweller and is found beneath rocks in the fastest flowing areas of the streams it inhabits.
Diet: No studies of the Longnose 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: Males in reproductive condition have been collected in Georgia in April, October, and November. Three females carrying eggs were found in April and had between 42 and 53 eggs. The total length of the smallest breeding male from Georgia is about 42 mm (1.7 in) and the smallest female with eggs is 40 mm (1.6 in) in length (Hobbs 1981).
Survey Recommendations: Since this species is usually found in fast flowing water, it is most easily collected by holding a net perpendicular to the current downstream of a large rock, then lifting the rock and disturbing the substrate beneath it. If a crayfish is hiding underneath the rock, it will likely move into the net. Shocking downstream into a seine net with a backpack electroshocker is also effective
Range: The Longnose Crayfish is found in the upper Tennessee River system in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. In Georgia it is found in the Nottely River (Hiwassee River trib.), Lookout Creek (Tennessee River trib. in northwestern GA), and the headwaters of the Chattooga River (this may represent an introduction) (Hobbs 1981).
Threats: Since this species has such a restricted distribution in Georgia, the loss of a single population would greatly reduce its presence in the state. Fortunately, the strongest population, which occurs in the Nottely River, is largely protected on US Forest Service land.
Conservation and Management Recommendations: Conserving populations of the Longnose 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.
Simmons, J. W. and S. J. Fraley. 2010. Distribution, status, and life-history observations of crayfishes in western North Carolina. Southeastern Naturalist 9 (Special Issue 3):79–126.
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