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Species Description

Crayfish

Cambarus (Puncticambarus) parrishi


Classification

Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Cambaridae

Description

Cambarus parrishi has an olive brown carapace with light greenish-tan markings on its dorsal (back or top) surface. The large, tan chelae (claws) are adorned with 2 rows of orange to pinkish tubercles (small bumps). The areola is broad and has 6-8 spots or pits in the narrowest portion. Cambarus parrishi has large eyes and a rostrum with small to large tubercles near the margins and tip. This crayfish has a carapace length that usually measures between 23 and 38 mm (0.91-1.5 in).

Life Cycle

There have been relatively few life history studies conducted on crayfish. The available life history data for Cambarus parrishi is limited to the form or condition of specimens collected during certain times of the year. First-form (sexually mature) males have been collected during January, April, May, August, October and November. Egg-bearing females have been collected during April and June, with specimens carrying between 38 and 112 eggs. The life cycle of this species is presumed to be fairly similar to the generalized crayfish life history described below. Copulation has not been observed, but probably occurs from autumn to spring. Copulation involves a sexually mature male crayfish grabbing a female and depositing sperm packages (spermatophores) into the seminal receptacle on the abdomen of a receptive female crayfish. Usually during the spring, females secrete a sticky substance on the underside of their abdomen and pleopods in order to attach their eggs. The eggs and sperm (from the seminal receptacle) are then released upon the sticky surface and fertilization occurs. A female carrying eggs on her abdomen and legs is said to be "in berry." "In berry" specimens have been observed carrying between 38 and 112 eggs. Embryos develop and hatch on the underside of females in 2-20 weeks, likely depending upon species and temperature. The immature hatchlings molt (shed their exoskeleton to allow growth) and remain attached to their mother. These first-stage immature crayfish look fairly similar to typical crayfish, but have disproportionately large heads and eyes. Another molting takes place in about 1-2 weeks. These second-stage immature crayfish look even more like adult crayfish. Second-stage or third-stage immature crayfish leave their mother's surface and become independent. These young crayfish continue molting and growing and are usually sexually mature by their second or third autumn. Sexually mature males and females are believed to mate between autumn and spring. Many adult crayfish die within 3 years of hatching.

Natural History

quite intense.

Range

This species has a small range within the swift streams of the Hiwassee River in Towns County , Georgia and Clay County, North Carolina. It prefers to hide among rocks and trapped leaf litter in between the riffles of swift, clear streams.

Conservation Status

This species is listed as Rare in Georgia because of its very limited range within the state. It is threatened by habitat degradation, construction of impoundments and pollution.

Similar Species

Cambarus hiwasseensis is the most similar crayfish species to Cambarus parrishi. C. hiwasseenis lacks the rostrum tubercles that distinguish Cambarus parrishi.