Common Name: OGEECHEE CRAYFISH
Scientific Name: Procambarus (Pennides) petersi Hobbs
Rarity Ranks: G3/S3
State Legal Status: None
Federal Legal Status: NoneDescription: The overall appearance of the Ogeechee Crayfish is tan to brownish or olive with darker markings. The carapace has a dark saddle near its rear edge that extends forward on either side of the carapace as two “horns”. The most obvious pigmentation characteristics are the discrete reddish or purplish spots along the margins of the abdomen. The palms of the claw are dark with light tubercles. The areola is wide and the rostrum is long and sharply pointed with marginal spines; there are two distinctive cervical spines on either side of the carapace. Adult Ogeechee Crayfish may reach a maximum total body length of over 105 mm (>4 in).
Similar Species: Within its range, no other crayfish species has paired cervical spines on either side of the carapace.
Habitat: The Ogeechee Crayfish is found in a wide array of flowing water habitats across its range. Depending on the substrates available it can be found hiding beneath rocks, within woody debris or leaf litter, and beneath undercut banks.
Diet: No studies of the Ogeechee Crayfish diet 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 only June and no females with eggs or young have been found. The smallest reproductive male is about 90 mm (3.5 in) in length (Hobbs 1981).
Survey Recommendations: This species most likely inhabits streams with woody debris or vegetation and will likely be hiding in those areas. Kicking into a seine or dipnet through vegetation or leaf packs may yield this species. Shocking downstream into a seine net with a backpack electroshocker is also effective.
Range: The Ogeechee Crayfish is known only from the Ogeechee and Canoochee rivers in eastern Georgia (Hobbs 1981).
Threats: This species is considered secure although it has a very restricted range. Introduction of an non-native species into the Ogeechee River system would likely threaten this species.
Conservation and Management Recommendations: General watershed level protection measures will help secure the continued existence of the variable crayfish in Georgia. These include 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 they will be fishing in and should never release unused bait crayfish back into Georgia waters.
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