Common Name: OCONEE BURROWING CRAYFISH
Scientific Name: Cambarus (Depressicambarus) truncatus Hobbs
Rarity Ranks: G1G2/S2
State Legal Status: Threatened
Federal Legal Status: None
Description: The overall color of the Oconee Burrowing Crayfish is pale to bright orange. The areola is virtually non-existent and the rostrum is short and broad. The abdomen is obviously narrower than the cephalothorax and the claws may be robust. There are two rows of tubercles along the mesial margin of the palm. This species reaches a maximum total body length of about 68 mm (2.7 in).
Similar Species: No other bright orange crayfish occurs in Georgia.
Habitat: Complex burrows adjacent to streams or in low areas where the water table is near the surface of the ground.
Diet: No studies of the Oconee Burrowing Crayfish Burrower 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: Almost nothing is known about the life history of the Oconee Burrowing Crayfish. Males in reproductive condition have been collected in April. The smallest reproductive male is about 51 mm (2 in) length (Hobbs 1981). A female collected in April 2012 produced about 10 eggs in the lab. Seven hatched and three have survived through several molts.
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 animals’ 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 mid-March to mid-November if the water table is within about two feet of the surface of the ground.
Range: The Oconee Burrowing Crayfish is currently known from 11 locations in the Oconee River system in middle Georgia. All of these locations are in the Coastal Plain physiographic province.
Threats: The small range of this species makes it vulnerable to land disturbing activities around streams and wetlands.
Conservation and Management Recommendations: If possible, areas with burrows should be protected from land disturbing activities. Additional surveys and life history studies are needed to better define the range of the Oconee Burrowing Crayfish and help predict its response to environmental change. Environmental education programs should include information about burrowing crayfishes and encourage protection of burrows.
Hobbs, H. H., Jr. 1981. The crayfishes of Georgia. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 318:1-549.
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: September 2012