Cambarus tenebrosus - Hay, 1902
Cavespring Crayfish
Synonym(s): Cambarus laevis Faxon, 1914
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cambarus ornatus Rhoades, 1944 (TSN 97391) ;Cambarus tenebrosus Hay, 1902 (TSN 97411)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.872114
Element Code: ICMAL07800
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: Taylor, C.A. 1997. Taxonomic status of members of the subgenus Erebicambarus, genus Cambarus (Decapoda: Cambaridae), east of the Mississippi River. Journal of Crustacean Biology 17:352-360.
Concept Reference Code: A97TAY02EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cambarus tenebrosus
Taxonomic Comments: A good species within its subgenus, but its trogloxenic habits have caused some to misidentify specimens. It is conspecific with C. ornatus and C. laevis (Taylor, 1997). Analysis of the 16S mitochondrial gene of surface versus subsurface populations indicated populations formed a single monophyletic group relative to Cambarus striatus, but lacked habitat structuring and the large amount of genetic diversity within the species suggests occupation of subterranean environments does not appear to be a recent event in the evolutionary history of the species (Finlay et al., 2006).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Jul2009
Global Status Last Changed: 19Feb1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: This species is located across five US States and has been recorded in 104 known sites in the Cumberland Plateau with a population of 233 individuals. The population abundance and site locality is unknown for the other areas of its range but it thought to be extensive. Due to this species ability to inhabit both subterranean and surface environments, C. tenebrosus this species can be considered a habitat generalist.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (19Feb1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S4), Illinois (S3), Indiana (S4), Kentucky (S5), Ohio (S2), Tennessee (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
American Fisheries Society Status: Currently Stable (01Aug2007)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Streams of the karst area east of the Mississippi River (Tennessee River drainages in northern Alabama north to Vermilion River drainage, a Wabash River tributary, in east-central Illinois, west to the Cache River drainage in extreme southwestern Illinois, and east to the Licking River drainage in northeastern Kentucky) from Alabama to Indiana and Illinois (Hobbs, 1989; Taylor, 1997); also found in caves.

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Reeves et al. (2000) reports this species to be common in the streams and pools of some caves (Howards Waterfall Cave, Hurricane Cave in Dade Co.) in Georgia, however, Finlay et al. (2006) and J. Buhay (pers. comm., March 2007) claim this species does not occur in Georgia and this is a misidentification for Cambarus striatus. In Alabama, it is known only from the Tennessee River system (Mirarchi et al., 2004; in appendix 1-2 published separately; Schuster and Taylor, 2004; Schuster et al., 2008). In the Cumberland Plateau it occurs on the western edge in Cumberland and Tennessee River systems, upstream in the Tennessee River to the Dequatchie Valley in Tennessee where it is common (Bouchard, 1974). Finlay et al. (2006) collected this species in Kentucky (Rockcastle, Green, Pulaski, Trigg, Wayne, Jackson, Warren, Edmonson, Logan, Allen, and Christian Cos.), Tennessee (Robertson, Putnam, Wayne, Montgomery, Marion, Clay, Davidson, Pickett, Van Buren, Jackson, Fentress, Franklin, White, Overton, Wilson, Rutherford, Cumberland, Giles, Bedford, Cannon, and Houston Cos.), Indiana (Orange and Lawrence Cos.), and Alabama (Jackson, Madison, and Colbert Cos.). It appears to have existed in the preglacial Ohio River basin and in Ohio and is now found only near the unglaciated portions of that system (only one record for the species in the state) (Thoma and Jezerinac, 2000). Hobbs (1976) indicated it had the largest range in subterranean waters of any cave dwelling crayfish in Indiana. Simon and Thoma (2003) documented it in the Patoka River basin of Indiana from small streams emanating from caves and karst springs. Indiana distribution includes the Patoka River drainage in Orange Co. but also the East Fork White River drainage in Monroe Co., and Patoka River drainage in Pike, Dubois, and Orange Cos. (all the latter as C. laevis) (Simon et al., 2005). In Kentucky it is one of the most widespread species in the state widely distributed from the Licking River drainage west to the lower Cumberland River drainage but not the lower parts of the Green and Tennessee River drainages, nor in the Mississippi Embayment (Taylor and Schuster, 2004). In Tennessee, Lewis (2005) lists 3 caves in Fentress Co., 1 in Grundy Co., 2 in Marion Co., 2 in Overton Co., 1 in Pickett Co., 6 in Van Buren Co., 2 in Warren Co., and 2 in White Co. It is noticeably absent from the lower Green River drainage in Kentucky and lower Wabash and Ohio River drainages in southwestern Indiana; as well as from the Mississippi River drainage of extreme western Kentucky and Tennessee (Taylor, 1997).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Hobbs (1976) indicated it had the largest range in subterranean waters of any cave dwelling crayfish in Indiana In 2006, 233 individuals were recorded from 84 caves and 20 surface locations in the Cumberland Plateau (Finlay et al., 2006). However, this species is probably more widespread and occurs in more locations than those surveyed.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: In Indiana, it was found infrequently at 21 of 176 sites in a survey of Clay, Greene, Knox, Owen, Sullivan, and Vigo Cos. (Burskey and Simon, 2010).

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: It is unknown whether Cambarus tenebrosus is impacted by any major threat process. However, it is likely to be undergoing localized declines due to urbanization, alterations to the hydrological regime and water pollution.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)

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

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Streams of the karst area east of the Mississippi River (Tennessee River drainages in northern Alabama north to Vermilion River drainage, a Wabash River tributary, in east-central Illinois, west to the Cache River drainage in extreme southwestern Illinois, and east to the Licking River drainage in northeastern Kentucky) from Alabama to Indiana and Illinois (Hobbs, 1989; Taylor, 1997); also found in caves.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, IL, IN, KY, OH, TN

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Rostrum with tiny or obtuse acumen, acarinate, margins slightly converging and terminating in nearly indistinguishable broadly rounded corners; cervical spines present (S) or absent (N); areola moderately wide with 5-7 punctations in narrowest part; chela with at least 2 rows of tubercles along mesial margin, mesialmost of at least 8; male with hooks on ischia of 3rd pereiopods; male 1st pleopod terminating in 2 unequal subparallel elements directed directed at >90 degree angle to main axis of pleopod, central projection shorter and with distinct subapical notch, mesial process broadly rounded at apex (Hobbs, 1976). [LENGTH: to 55 TCL; to 110 TL] [WIDTH: to 15]
Diagnostic Characteristics: Hooks on male 3rd pereiopods only; chela with at least two rows of tuberlces alsong mesial margin of plam, mesialmost of 8; moderately wide areola; male 1st pleopod as described above.
Reproduction Comments: Amplexus in fall; brooding Jul-August (Prins, 1965).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Subterranean Habitat(s): Subaquatic
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Usually under rocks, with shallow excavations, sometimes piling up mud in stream bed. It occupies both epigean (surface) and hypogean (subsurface) karst habitats but is a facultative cave dweller. Analysis of the 16S mitochondrial gene of surface versus subsurface populations indicated populations formed a single monophyletic group relative to Cambarus striatus, but lacked habitat structuring and the large amount of genetic diversity within the species suggests occupation of subterranean environments does not appear to be a recent event in the evolutionary history of the species (Finlay et al., 2006). In Indiana, it is positively associated with small, rocky, spring-fed creeks without fine sediments (Burskey and Simon, 2010).
Adult Food Habits: Detritivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Detritivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: No known economic value.
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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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: 01Jul2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Mar2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J. (2007); FITZPATRICK, J.F. (1992)

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

  • Burskey, J.L. and T.P. Simon. 2010. Reach- and watershed-scale associations of crayfish within an area of varying agricultural impact on west-central Indiana. Southeastern Naturalist 9 (special issue 3):199-216.

  • Finlay, J.B., J.E. Buhay, and K.A. Crandall. 2006. Surface to subsurface freshwater connections: phylogeographic and habitat analysis of Cambarus tenebrosus, a facultative cave-dwelling crayfish. Animal Conservation, 9: 375-387.

  • Hobbs, H.H., III. 1976b. Observations on the cave-dwelling crayfishes of Indiana. Freshwater Crayfish 2:405-414.

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

  • Hobbs, Jr., H. H. 1976a. Crayfishes (Astacidae) of North and Middle America. Biological Methods Branch, Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, Ohio. 173 pp.

  • Lewis, J.J. 2005c. Bioinventory of Caves of the Cumberland Escarpment Area of Tennessee. Final Report to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency & The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee. Lewis & Associates LLC, 158 pp.

  • Lewis, Julian J., and Salisa L. Lewis. 2006. The Subterranean Fauna of the Buddha Karst Preserve, Lawrence County, Indiana. 19pp.

  • 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.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., M.A. Bailey, J.T. Garner, T.M. Haggerty, T.L. Best, M.F. Mettee, and P. O'Neil. 2004d. Alabama Wildlife. Volume Four: Conservation and Management Recommendations for Imperiled Wildlife. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 221 pp.

  • Prins, R. 1965. Comparative ecology of the crayfishes ORCONECTES RUSTICUS RUSTICUS ns CAMBARUS TENEBROSUS in Doe Run, Meade County, Kentucky. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, [iii] + 114 PP.

  • Reeves, W.K., J.B. Jensen, and J.C. Ozier. 2000. New faunal and fungal records from caves in Georgia, USA. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 62(3): 169-179.

  • Schuster, G. A. and C.A. Taylor. 2004. Report on the crayfishes of Alabama: literature and museum database review, species list with abbreviated annotations and proposed conservation statuses. Illinois Natural History Survey Technical Report, 2004(12): 47 pp.

  • Schuster, G.A., C.A. Taylor, and J. Johansen. 2008. An annotated checklist and preliminary designation of drainage distributions of the crayfishes of Alabama. Southeastern Naturalist, 7(3): 493-504.

  • Simon, T.P. and R .E Thoma. 2003 . Distribution patterns of freshwater shrimp and crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) in the Patoka River basin of Indiana. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science 112 :175-185.

  • Simon, T.P., M. Weisheit, E. Seabrook, L. Freeman, S. Johnson, L. Englum, K.W. Jorck, M. Abernathy, and T.P. Simon, IV. 2005. Notes on Indiana crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) with comments on distribution, taxonomy, life history, and habitat. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science 114(1):55-61.

  • Simon, Thomas P. 2001. Checklist of the Crayfish and Freshwater Shrimp (Decapoda) of Indiana. Proceedings of teh Indiana Academy of Science. 110:104-110.

  • Taylor, C.A. 1997. Taxonomic status of members of the subgenus Erebicambarus, genus Cambarus (Decapoda: Cambaridae), east of the Mississippi River. Journal of Crustacean Biology 17:352-360.

  • Taylor, C.A. and G.A. Schuster. 2004. The Crayfishes of Kentucky. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Publication, 28: viii + 210 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.

  • Taylor, Christopher A. and Guenter A. Schuster. 2007. Final report: compilation of Alabama crayfish museum holdings and construction of a geo-referenced database. Illinois Natural Histroy Survey, Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Entomology Technical Report 2007(26). 14 pages.

  • Thoma, R.F. and R.E. Jezerinac. 2000. Ohio crayfish and shrimp atlas. Ohio Biological Survey Miscellaneous Contribution 7:1-28.

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