Common Name: PENINSULA CRAYFISH
Scientific Name: Procambarus (Scapulicambarus) paeninsulanus (Faxon)
Rarity Ranks: G5/S5
State Legal Status: None
Federal Legal Status: None
Description: The overall color of the Peninsula Crayfish includes reds, reddish-browns, and pinkish hues. The back is dark reddish brown and the upper sides have a dark longitudinal stripe. Below the stripe the body is pinkish-cream with white speckles and whitish splotching. There are numerous small, dark tubercles on the carapace. The abdomen has dark transverse bars on each segment which create the appearance of a broad, dark longitudinal stripe. The claws are dark red to blackish with bright orangish-reddish tubercles. In some parts of its range (Early Count, GA) the background color of the carapace and claws is olive (Hobbs 1981). The areola is narrow and may be obliterated. The rostrum is long and pointed and often has marginal spines or tubercles, especially on juveniles. A single cervical tubercle is usually present and may be a sharp spine on juveniles. This species reaches a maximum total body length of about 100 mm (3.9 in).
Similar Species: Across most of its range, there are no other crayfish species with orangish-reddish tubercles on the claws. At the northwestern portion of its range, the Peninsula Crayfish abuts the range of its close relative Ornate Crayfish. Details of the male reproductive structure are required to separate these species from one another. Another species that must be considered is the Red Swamp Crawfish, a non-native species widely introduced around the world as a food source for people. There are currently no known populations within the range of Peninsula Crayfish, however there were crawfish farms (no longer producing) in the Alapaha and the lower Satilla river basins and it seems possible that some individuals of Red Swamp Crawfish may have escaped. Despite this, they could turn up just about anywhere. Again, details of the male reproductive structure are required to separate Peninsula Crayfish from this species.
Habitat: The Peninsula Crayfish occurs in a wide variety of habitats including permanent streams, ponds, ditches, and wetlands. Many of these habitats are temporary in nature. In open water situations it is usually associated with vegetation or woody debris, or undercut banks. In areas where open water recedes, it can be found in simple burrows.
Diet: No studies of the Peninsula 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: Male Peninsula Crayfish in reproductive condition have been collected in all months except February, July, August, and December. Females with eggs were found in August, September, and October and females with young in October and December (Hobbs 1981). Hobbs (1981) suggests that all females retreat to burrows to lay eggs and rear young. The smallest breeding male known is about 47 mm (1.9 in) and the smallest female with eggs is about 56 mm (2.2 in) in length (Hobbs 1981).
Survey Recommendations: In streams or ponds, kicking through vegetation into a net can yield specimens. If there are rocks or logs in the creek, they may be carefully lifted and crayfish may be pinned by hand or coaxed into a dipnet. Excavation of burrows adjacent to drying ponds or ditches should also yield specimens.
Range: The Peninsula Crayfish is distributed from the Choctawhatchee River basin in the panhandle of Florida, eastward across northern Florida, and north to southern Georgia. In Georgia it is most common in the southwestern portion of the state in the Flint, Ochlockonee, and Suwannee river basins, but is also found in the Chattahoochee, Satilla, and St. Mary’s basins (Hobbs 1981).
Threats: This species is apparently secure across its range.
Conservation and Management Recommendations: Conserving populations of the Peninsula 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.
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