Common Name: VIDALIA CRAYFISH
Scientific Name: Procambarus (Hagenides) advena (LeConte)
Rarity Ranks: G3/S3
State Legal Status: None
Federal Legal Status: None
Description: The overall color of the Vidalia Crayfish is brown with no distinguishing markings. The lower sides of the body are lighter than the back and the claws may have a purplish or bluish tint. The claws are covered with dark tubercles and the tubercles on the mesial margin of the palm are irregular and jagged. The areola is very narrow and may be obliterated. The rostrum tapers and there are no marginal spines or tubercles. This species reaches a maximum total body length of about 75 mm (3 in).
Similar Species: Within its range, the only species possibly to be confused with Vidalia Crayfish is the Christmas Tree Crayfish, Procambarus pygmaeus. However, the latter typically has a striking green and red coloration.
Habitat: The Vidalia Crayfish is considered a primary burrower and inhabits complex burrow systems in low wet areas where the water table is near the surface of the ground.
Diet: No studies of the Vidalia Crayfish 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 mouth of their burrows, eat organisms that crawl or fall into the burrow, or eat worms that inadvertently tunnel through a burrow wall.
Life History: Male Vidalia Crayfish in reproductive condition have been collected in February, April, and May; females with eggs in April and May; and a female with young in April (Hobbs 1981). The number of eggs carried by two of the females was 72 and 83. Another female was collected from a burrow in February with small juveniles (< 1 cm long). The smallest breeding male found is about 60 mm (2.4 in) and the smallest female with eggs is about 42 mm (1.7 in) in length (Hobbs 1981).
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 typically 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 Vidalia Crayfish is endemic to Georgia and found between the Altamaha and Savannah rivers in the southeastern portion of the state.
Threats: This species is apparently secure across its range.
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 understand virtually all burrowing crayfishes to allow predictions of their response to environmental change. Environmental education programs should include information about burrowing crayfishes.
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: August 2012