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Procambarus fallax tank


Scientific Name:  Procambarus (Ortmannicus) fallax (Hagen)

Rarity Ranks:  G5/S4

State Legal Status:  None

Federal Legal Status: None

Description:  The carapace of the Slough Crayfish is brownish dorsally with darker irregular splotches.  There is a dark (blackish) stripe on each side, and below the stripe the sides have a brownish-pinkish hue with light irregular splotches.  The abdomen has a wide dark dorsal stripe and darker thin stripes on the lower sides.  The claws are brownish with dark and light splotches and dark tubercles. The areola is fairly narrow but never obliterated.  The rostrum is long, tapering, and has marginal spines or tubercles.  A single cervical spine is present.  This species reaches a maximum total body length of about 68 mm (2.7 in).

Similar Species:  The species possibly confused with Slough Crayfish are Seminole Crayfish (Procambarus seminolae), Peninsula Crayfish (P. paeninsulanus), and White Tubercled Crayfish (P. spiculifer).  White Tubercled Crayfish has two pairs of cervical spines while Slough Crayfish has only one.  Seminole Crayfish has discrete dark spots on the upper sides of the carapace whereas Slough Crayfish has a dark line in this area.  Peninsula Crayfish has dark claws with reddish-orangish tubercles while Slough Crayfish has brown claws with dark and light splotching and dark tubercles.

Habitat:  Slough Crayfish lives in a wide variety of habitats including streams, ponds, ditches, and swamps.  It is most often found associated with aquatic vegetation.  If water levels drop where this species is living, it will burrow (Hobbs 1981).

Diet:  No studies of the Slough 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:  Combining Georgia and Florida, male Slough Crayfish in reproductive condition have been collected in every month of the year.  In Georgia, only one female with eggs has been collected (July), but they have been found with eggs in every month of the year in Florida, mostly in March.  Females with young have been found in Florida in March (42 individuals), April (3), and June (3).  The smallest breeding male known is about 30 mm (1.2 in) and the only Georgia female carrying eggs is about 40 mm (1.6 in) in length (Hobbs 1981).

Survey Recommendations:  Since this species is found in a variety of habitats, using a seine or dipnet in streams and/or ponds can yield the species.  According to Hobbs (1981) this species will almost always be associated with vegetation, so collecting efforts should be focused there.

Range:  The Slough Crayfish ranges from the Suwannee and Satilla river systems in Georgia, south through most of peninsular Florida (Hobbs 1981).

Threats:  This species is considered secure across its range.

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.

Selected References:

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.

procambarus fallax map

Date Compiled or Updated:  September 2012

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