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procambarus lophotus dorsal


Scientific Name:  Procambarus (Ortmannicus) lophotus Hobbs and Walton

Rarity Ranks:  G5/S4

State Legal Status:  None

Federal Legal Status:  None

Description:  The overall color of the Mane Crayfish is light brownish to olive with a wide dark central stripe down the abdomen.  The claws appear delicate and weak and the length of the mesial margin of the palm is usually about twice the width of the palm.  The mesial margin of the palm is also about the same length of the moveable finger.  The areola is fairly narrow and strongly hourglass shaped, but never obliterated.  The rostrum is relatively long, typically tapers, and occasionally has marginal spines or tubercles.  A single small cervical spine or tubercle is usually present.  This species reaches a maximum total body length of about 100 mm (3.9 in).

Similar Species:  No other crayfish that occurs with Mane Crayfish has such long and delicate looking claws with such a long mesial margin of the palm.  The White Tubercled Crayfish, Procambarus spiculifer is in the same genus but has two cervical spines instead of one found on Mane Crayfish.

Habitat:  The Mane Crayfish is considered a secondary burrower and thus is found in open water of flowing streams as well as burrow complexes along the banks of streams or in low wet areas near streams.  Within a stream this species is found hiding beneath rocks, within woody debris and leaf litter, and beneath undercut banks.

Diet:  No studies of the Mane 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:  In Georgia, male Mane Crayfish in reproductive condition have only been collected April and no females with eggs have been found.  The smallest breeding male known is about 61 mm (2.4 in) in length (Hobbs 1981). 

Survey Recommendations:  In clear streams, the species can be taken by carefully turning over rocks and pinning the animal by hand or gently steering it into a dipnet.  It has also been found in muddy ditches where sweeping a dipnet or kicking beneath an undercut bank may yield specimens.  Because this species frequently burrows, excavation of burrows adjacent to streams may reveal the species. 

Range:  The Mane Crayfish is known from the Alabama River system in southwestern Alabama to northwestern Georgia and in the Tennessee River system in northwestern Georgia and southeastern Tennessee (Hobbs 1989).  In Georgia it is common in the lower Conasauga and Chattooga rivers and the Chattanooga Creek system (Hobbs 1981).

Threats:  This species is apparently secure across its range.

Conservation and Management Recommendations:  Conserving populations of the Mane 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. 

Selected References:

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.

procambarus lophotus map

Date Compiled or Updated:  September 2012

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