Crayfishes of Georgia Overview List of Georgia Species Species Lists by Drainage Crayfish Identification Keys by Drainage Ecology and Life History Links and Other Useful Information Glossary
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procambarus acutus tank

Common Name: WHITE RIVER CRAWFISH

Scientific Name:  Procambarus (Ortmannicus) acutus (Girard)

Rarity Ranks:  G5/No state ranking

State Legal Status:  None

Federal Legal Status:  None

Description:  The overall color of the White River Crawfish pinkish tan to brownish-olive with a broad dark stripe along the abdomen.  The claws are slender and delicate in appearance and have small dark tubercles.  The areola is fairly narrow but never obliterated.  The rostrum typically tapers, but occasionally has marginal tubercles or spines and there is a single small cervical spine or tubercle.  This species reaches a maximum total body length of over 100 mm (>4 in).

Similar Species:  All of the species of Procambarus in this subgenus have much more slender and delicate looking claws than any Cambarus species.  The White River Crawfish differs from all of the other Procambarus with which it occurs (except Eastern Red Swamp Crawfish), by having a plain body coloration and a dark stripe down the abdomen.  The Eastern Red Swamp Crawfish has orangish-red tubercles on the claws rather than dark tubercles exhibited by the White River Crawfish.

Habitat:  The White River Crawfish is found in open water of flowing streams, ditches, swampy areas and well as burrow complexes along the banks of streams or in low wet areas.

Diet:  No studies of the White River Crawfish are known from the eastern portion if its range (Hobbs 1981).  Crayfishes are considered opportunistic omnivores and likely feed on live and decaying vegetation, aquatic insect larvae, small fishes, and dead animal matter.

Life History:  Few data are available for this species in Georgia.  Male White River Crawfish in reproductive condition have been collected in April and August within the state; however, considering all of the surrounding states, reproductive males have been found every month of the year (Hobbs 1981).  Hobbs (1981) also reported that despite the collection of hundreds of female specimens in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, he never saw one carrying eggs, and only a single one with young was found in Alabama in September.  I suspect the females retreat to burrows to release eggs and rear young.  The smallest breeding male known is about 72 mm (2.8 in) in length (Hobbs 1981).

Survey Recommendations:  This species may be collected by dipnetting or kicking into a seine, using a backpack electroshocker or by excavating burrows.  It will most likely be found associated with vegetation or undercut banks.  It has also been collected using minnow traps.

Range:  The White River Crawfish is widespread across the eastern and middle United States, south to Mexico (Hobbs 1989).  In Georgia is it native to the central-eastern portion of the state north of the Altamaha River.  The most northerly populations are in the Broad River system (Savannah tributary).  They were introduced to the Warm Spring National Fish Hatchery in Meriwether County, GA (Flint River system) and possibly into the St. Mary’s River system (Hobbs 1981).

Threats:  This species is apparently secure across its range.

Conservation and Management Recommendations:  General watershed level protection measures will help secure the continued existence of the White River Crawfish 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.

Hobbs, H.H., Jr. 1989. An illustrated checklist of the American crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 480:1-236.

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.

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Date Compiled or Updated:  August 2012

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