Cambarus obeyensis - Hobbs and Shoup, 1947
Obey Crayfish
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cambarus obeyensis Hobbs and Shoup, 1947 (TSN 97389)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.113868
Element Code: ICMAL07200
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Crustaceans - Crayfishes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Crustacea Malacostraca Decapoda Cambaridae Cambarus
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Hobbs, H.H., Jr. 1989. An illustrated checklist of the American crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 480:1-236.
Concept Reference Code: B89HOB01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cambarus obeyensis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 12May2010
Global Status Last Changed: 10Jun2009
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This species is only known from the headwaters of one river system at the junction of three counties in Tennessee in a very small area (range extent <250 sq. km, AOO <10 sq. km) and populations fluctuate up and down due to periodic drought. Also poor water quality is contributing to declining habitat for this species. It is extremely rare and localized.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (10Jun2009)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Tennessee (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: CR - Critically endangered
American Fisheries Society Status: Endangered (01Aug2007)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 100-250 square km (about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Confined to headwaters and tributaries of the East Fork Obey River in the junction of Cumberland, Fentress, Putnam and Overton counties, Tennessee (Williams et al., 2006).

Area of Occupancy: 3-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: AOO is less than 10 sq. km (T. Jones, R. Thoma, pers. comm., 2009).

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: In the original description, Hobbs and Shoup (1947) reported only three known localities, all occurring within Hurricane Creek and its tributaries. Since then, this species has been collected from only one other locality outside the Hurricane Creek watershed (a single record collected from Dripping Springs Creek, a tributary to Meadow Creek, a northerly flowing tributary just southwest of Hurricane Creek). In Tennessee it occurs in the Cumberland Plateau province in the headwaters of the East Fork Obey River in Cumberland, Fentress, Putnam, and Overton Cos. (Bouchard, 1974; Williams and Bivens, 2001). Recent survey efforts (Williams et al., 2006) found populations at all historic sites except Dripping Springs Creek plus one new stream locality record within a tributary of Hurricane Creek (6 total occurrences).

Population Size: Unknown
Population Size Comments: Bouchard (1974) cited it as uncommon. In 2004 and 2005, CPUE values were highest on Little Piney Creek and Hurricane Creek site 2 with 13.0 and 9.6 specimens per hour respectively. Hurricane Creek site 1 and Little Hurricane Creek were somewhat lower with 6.7 and 6.0 specimens per hour, and can most likely be attributed to a reduction of the preferred habitat (large flat rocks in moderate to slow current). Interestingly, Cambarus obeyensis was always the most common species encountered where it occurred during our surveys (Williams et al., 2006).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Cambarus obeyensis was always the most common species encountered where it occurred during surveys of the four known historical sites in the Obey River drainage (Williams et al., 2006).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat loss and poor water quality issues from point and non-point source pollution have plagued aquatic organisms within these streams for many decades. While efforts are currently underway to improve water quality in a few streams, much of the watershed continues to suffer from historical surface coal mining practices. Although much of the East Fork Obey River system remains forested, increasing residential development and poor logging and agricultural practices pose continuing threats. Note there is the potential (not realized) threat of a large sand mine being considered for construction in heart of range (per R. Thoma to C. Taylor, pers. comm., 2008).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Although one population may have been lost in Dripping Springs Creek (more surveys are needed to confirm this), all historical occurrences have been confirmed to be extant and viable recently (Williams et al., 2006). However, in 2008, most of the streams dried completely so decline is imminent. In the dried stream reaches numerous dead specimens were observed and this drying event may have resulted in a loss of over 50% of the species' population (R. Thoma, pers. comm., 2010). These streams dry periodically causing fluctuations in population numbers (T. Jones, R. Thoma, pers. comm., 2009).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: This species suffers from an extremely small range with potential for stochastic events leading to decline.

Environmental Specificity: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Continue to monitor these populations periodically, survey other tributaries within the region for new occurrences, and conduct comprehensive surveys to define the distributional limits within each stream.

Protection Needs: Any efforts to alleviate habitat degradation within this watershed would be beneficial.

Distribution
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Global Range: (100-250 square km (about 40-100 square miles)) Confined to headwaters and tributaries of the East Fork Obey River in the junction of Cumberland, Fentress, Putnam and Overton counties, Tennessee (Williams et al., 2006).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
TN Cumberland (47035), Fentress (47049), Overton (47133), Putnam (47141)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Obey (05130105)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Obey crayfish; Cambaridae
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: This species is found from small to large streams where they are found beneath large rocks in moderate to slow current. However, the known range distribution suggest that it is restricted to the upper reaches of streams that remain on the table rock portion of the Cumberland Plateau upstream of where the streams have began to cut through the Pennsylvanian Sandstone caps (Williams et al., 2006).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Encourage universities to conduct extensive life history studies to further increase our knowledge of this species.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Crayfishes

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on some evidence of historical or current presence of single or multiple specimens, including live specimens or recently dead shells (i.e., soft tissue still attached without signs of external weathering or staining), at a given location with potentially recurring existence. Evidence is derived from reliable published observation or collection data; unpublished, though documented (i.e. government or agency reports, web sites, etc.) observation or collection data; or museum specimen information.
Separation Barriers: Separation barriers are based on hydrological discontinuity. Additional physical barriers, particularly for secondary and tertiary burrowers, include presence of upland habitat between water connections of a distance greater than 30 m. Migration of primary burrowers is generally not hindered by presence of upland habitat unless conditions are very xeric (dry and desert-like) (Smith, 2001).
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 2 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Freshwater cave (troglobitic) species may occur from near entrances to very deep in cave systems. For cave species, each cave where an observation or collection was recorded (see Minimum EO Criteria, above) constitutes an element occurrence regardless of separation distance unless caves are part of a single hydrological system (see below). Occurrences are additionally separated by underground physical barriers to movement. Multiple caves within a single hydrological cave system are considered to be a single element occurrence when they are less than one km apart. Multiple caves within a single hydrological cave system are considered separate element occurrences when hydrological connections have not been determined or when separated by a distance of at least one km.
Separation Justification: Habitat for these creatures is primarily separated according to each species' burrowing ability. All crayfish are able to burrow to some extent and this ability will help determine the range of habitats in which a species can be found. Burrowing in the Astacidae is limited to streambed and bank excavation (Hobbs, 1988). The Cambaridae, as a whole are much more adept at burrowing than the Astacidae. As a result, they possess a greater habitat range than the Astacidae including dry water bodies (Hogger, 1988).

The burrowers can be classified into three categories: primary burrowers, secondary burrowers, and tertiary burrowers. Primary burrowers tend to remain in their burrows continuously and live in areas without permanent water except during breeding when they must migrate to a nearby water source (Hogger, 1988). The prairies of eastern and central Mississippi and western Alabama are an example of primary burrower habitat (Hogger, 1988). Secondary burrowers remain in burrows during dry periods but emerge when habitats are inundated seasonally. Such habitat includes lentic systems flooded periodically but dry in summer (Huner and Romaire, 1979) and permanent and temporary ponds and swamps in the southern United States. Tertiary burrowers do not burrow except during infrequent drought conditions and/or during breeding season. Both flowing and standing water can be tertiary burrower habitat.

Because primary burrowers, and to a lesser extent secondary burrowers, can occupy xeric habitats, separation barriers for such species do not include presence of upland habitat except in extremely dry conditions. Survival during dry periods, particularly for secondary burrowers, is dependent upon construction of a burrow regardless of season. Several different types have been described (Smith, 2001) depending on species, soil, and depth of water table.

Published information about movement in relation to migration distance is lacking but Cooper (1998, personal communication) and Fitzpatrick (1998, personal communication) both recommend a separation distance of one km between element occurrences. Dispersal patterns are best known for invasive species which likely have the greatest dispersal capability, therefore, separation distances have been determined for all crayfish based on these studies. Guan and Wiles (1997) provided evidence from the River Great Ouse in the United Kingdom that the range of movement for the majority of the invasive Pacifastacus leniusculus was within 190 m. Bubb et al. (2004) also studied P. leniusculus in England using radio-tagging and found median maximal upstream and downstream movement distances were 13.5 m (range 0-283 m) and 15 m (range 0-417 m), respectively. Barbaresi et al. (2004) found that ranging speed in the invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Girard) to be slow (0.3 to 76.5 m/day) with the widest ranging individual traveling 304 m. Lewis and Horton (1996) found that 21% of tagged Pacifastacus leniusculus in an Oregon harvest pond moved >1000 m in one year while the majority moved <500 m. As such minimum separation distance (unsuitable and suitable) has been set at the NatureServe standard minimum of two km.

Exposed pools and streams in caves represent "karst windows" into more extensive underground streams. No information on the distance cave crayfish can disperse in underground streams is yet available.

Date: 18Oct2004
Author: Cordeiro, J.
Notes: Primary burrowers include the following taxa: Cambarus (Cambarus) carolinus, C. (C.) diogenes diogenes, C. (Depressicambarus) catagius, C. (D.) cymatilis, C. (D.) deweesae, C. (D.) harti, C. (D.) reflexus, C. (D.) pyronotus, C. (D.) striatus, C. (D.) strigosus, C. (D.) truncatus, C. (Glareocola), C. (Jugicambarus) batchi, C. (J.) carolinus, C. (J.) causeyi, C. (J.) dubius, C. (J.) gentryi, C. (J.) monongalensis, C. (J.) nodosus, C. (Lacunicambarus), C. (Tubericambarus), Distocambarus, Fallicambarus, Procambarus (Acucauda), P. (Distocambarus), P. (Girardiella) barbiger, P. (G.) cometes, P. (G.) connus, P. (G.) curdi, P. (G.) gracilis, P. (G.) hagenianus hagenianus, P. (G.) hagenianus vesticeps, P. (G.) liberorum, P. (G.) pogum, P. (Hagenides) [except P. pygmaeus]
Secondary burrowers include the following taxa: Cambarus (Cambarus) ortmanni, C. (Depressicambarus) latimanus, C. (D.) reduncus, Hobbseus, Procambarus (Cambarus) clarkii, P. (Girardiella) kensleyi, P. (G.) reimeri, P. (G.) simulans, P. (G.) steigmani, P. (G.) tulanei, P. (Hagenides) pygmaeus, P. (Leconticambarus) [excepting P. alleni and P. milleri], P. (Ortmannicus) [excepting the cave dwelling species], P. (Tenuicambarus)
Tertiary burrowers include the following taxa: Barbicambarus, Bouchardina, Cambarus (Cambarus) angularis, C. (C.) bartonii carinirostris, C. (C.) bartonii cavatus, C. (C.) howardi, C. (C.) sciotensis, C. (Depressicambarus) englishi, C. (D.) graysoni, C. (D.) halli, C. (D.) obstipus, C. (D.) sphenoides, C. (Erebicambarus) ornatus, C. (E.) rusticiformis, C. (Exilicambarus) cracens, C. (Hiaticambarus), C. (Jugicambarus) asperimanus, C. (J.) bouchardi, C. (J.) crinipes, C. (J.) distans, C. (J.) friaufi, C. (J.) obeyensis, C. (J.) parvoculus, C. (J.) unestami, C. (Puncticambarus) [excepting the cave dwelling species], C. (Veticambarus), Cambarellus, Faxonella, Orconectes [excepting the cave dwelling species], Pacifastacus, Procambarus (Capillicambarus), P. (Girardiella) ceruleus, P.

Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 12May2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J. (2010); Fitzpatrick, J.F., Jr.; 1999 review by C. Taylor (1996)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08May2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J. (2007); FITZPATRICK, J. F. (1991)

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Bouchard, R.W. 1974. Geography and ecology of crayfishes of the Cumberland Plateau and Cumberland Mountains, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Part II. The genera Fallicambarus and Cambarus. Freshwater Crayfish 2:585-605

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

  • McLaughlin, P.A., D.K. Camp, M.V. Angel, E.L. Bousfield, P. Brunel, R.C. Brusca, D. Cadien, A.C. Cohen, K. Conlan, L.G. Eldredge, D.L. Felder, J.W. Goy, T. Haney, B. Hann, R.W. Heard, E.A. Hendrycks, H.H. Hobbs III, J.R. Holsinger, B. Kensley, D.R. Laubitz, S.E. LeCroy, R. Lemaitre, R.F. Maddocks, J.W. Martin, P. Mikkelsen, E. Nelson, W.A. Newman, R.M. Overstreet, W.J. Poly, W.W. Price, J.W. Reid, A. Robertson, D.C. Rogers, A. Ross, M. Schotte, F. Schram, C. Shih, L. Watling, G.D.F. Wilson, and D.D. Turgeon. 2005. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Crustaceans. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 31: 545 pp.

  • 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):371-389.

  • Williams, C.E. and R.D. Bivens. 2001. Annotated list of the crayfishes of Tennessee. Open file report (April 2001) of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Talbott, Tennessee. Available: http://www.homestead.com/twra4streams/files/Crayfish.PDF

  • Williams, C.V. R.D. Bivens, and B.D. Carter. 2006. A status survey of the Obey crayfish (Cambarus obeyensis). Report to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Nashville, Tennessee, March 2006. 19 pp.

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