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Invasive Crabs & Crayfish

Red Swamp Crayfish

  • Scientific Name

    Procambarus clarkii - Visit ITIS for full scientific classification. 

  • Description


    • Juveniles are grey, and adults are red to brown.
    • Carapace and claws are bumpy, and carapace can get up to 5 inches long.
    • 4 pairs walking legs, 1 pair claws, 5 other pairs of appendages.
  • Habitat
    • Prefers ponds, streams and creeks.
    • Found in flowing and non-flowing waters.
    • Prefers ditches with mud and sandy bottoms with plenty of organic debris.
    • Also found in irrigation canals, and rice paddies.
  • Invasion Pathways and Distribution
    • Native to south-central U.S.
    • Widely distributed in California and other east and west coast states.
    • Intentionally introduced as food item, as well as through the aquarium trade, bait industry, and teaching and research laboratories.
    • Visit USGS for a current U.S. distribution map.
  • Life History
    • Individuals are either male or female.
    • Females carry eggs that hatch directly into juveniles.
  • Impacts
    • Competes with native predators, and will feed on larvae and juveniles of native fish and amphibians.
    • Agricultural rice pest.
    • Burrowing in mud banks contributes to erosion, and destroys important habitat for other native species.
    • Sold as pets, for education, used as bait for sport fishing, and raised for human consumption.
  • References and Useful Links

    For references by category and links to other useful AIS sites see our Learn More page.