Orconectes cristavarius - Taylor, 2000
Spiny Stream Crayfish
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Orconectes cristavarius Taylor, 2000 (TSN 650401)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.107684
Element Code: ICMAL11810
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Crustaceans - Crayfishes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Crustacea Malacostraca Decapoda Cambaridae Orconectes
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Taylor, C.A. 2000. Systematic studies of the Orconectes juvenilis complex (Decapoda: Cambaridae), with descriptions of two new species. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 20(1): 132-152.
Concept Reference Code: A00TAY01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Orconectes cristavarius
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly part of the Orconectes juvenilis complex (Taylor 2000).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Jul2009
Global Status Last Changed: 08Nov1999
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Revision of the Orconectes juvenilis complex by Taylor (2000) reveals this newly described species to occur widely from the upper Cumberland River drainage in southeastern Kentucky east to the upper New River drainage of western North Carolina and Elk River drainage of West Virginia, and upper New and Tennessee River drainages in Virginia. This species has a large distribution covering a large part of the U.S.A. There are no major threats known to be impacting this abundant species.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (08Nov1999)

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 Kentucky (SNR), North Carolina (S3), Ohio (S4), Tennessee (SNR), Virginia (S3), West Virginia (S4)

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: Revision of the Orconectes juvenilis complex by Taylor (2000) reveals this newly described species to occur widely from the upper Cumberland River drainage in southeastern Kentucky east to the upper New River drainage of western North Carolina and Elk River drainage of West Virginia, and upper New and Tennessee River drainages in Virginia.

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: In North Carolina it occurs throughout most of the New River basin and has been introduced into the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin (Cooper, 2005). LeGrand et al. (2006) cites the New River drainage in North Carolina. McGrath (1998) found it common to abundant at all 27 sites sampled in the New River basin, North Carolina and Simmons and Fraley (2010) found it in 7 of 13 sites surveyed. In Kentucky, it is widespread and common in the upper Cumberland, Kentucky, and Licking River drainages and in the Big Sandy drainage; and also occurs in the Little Sandy River and Tygarts Creek drainages of eastern Kentucky (Taylor and Schuster, 2004). Peake et al. (2004) collected this species in the upper Cumberland and upper Kentucky River basins in Kentucky. In Ohio, it is confined to the extreme south-central counties (Thoma and Jezerinac, 2000). In West Virginia, it is prevalent throughout the southwestern Ohio River basins and James River drainage, and sporadically distributed throughout portions of teh Kanawha River system (Loughman and Welsh, 2010).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Orconectes cristavarius is described as common to abundant in most locations in Kentucky (Taylor 2000). It is common to abundant in North Carolina (Simmons and Fraley, 2010).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some to many (13-125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Helms and Creed (2005) conducted studies of diet and sediment accumulation on invertebrate populations coexisting with this species in the South Fork of the New River, Watauga Co. North Carolina. McGrath (1998) found it common to abundant at all 27 sites sampled in the New River basin, North Carolina and Simmons and Fraley (2010) found it in 7 of 13 sites surveyed.

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: It is unlikely that there are any major threats impacting upon this species. Various studies have shown that introduced O. rusticus has a higher growth rate than its congeners contributing to its dominance over other crayfish species (Hill et al., 1993; Mather and Stein, 1993); however studies by Pintor and Sih (2009) indicate higher growth rates is a characteristic of introduced but not native populations of O. rusticus (higer foraging activity and exploitation of bait of introduced versus native populations; as well as bait piracy).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: McGrath (1998) found it common to abundant at all 27 sites sampled in the New River basin, North Carolina and Simmons and Fraley (2010) found it in 7 of 13 sites surveyed.

Long-term Trend: Unknown

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Revision of the Orconectes juvenilis complex by Taylor (2000) reveals this newly described species to occur widely from the upper Cumberland River drainage in southeastern Kentucky east to the upper New River drainage of western North Carolina and Elk River drainage of West Virginia, and upper New and Tennessee River drainages in Virginia.

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 KY, NC, OH, TN, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: In North Carolina, Form I males were collected during mid-October in 11-17C and juveniles were collected also in mid-October (Simmons and Fraley, 2010).
Ecology Comments: In general crayfish occupy a small home range; are subject to predation by mammals, birds and herptiles. Helms and Creek (2005) found no influence of Cambarus chasmodactylus and coexisting Orconectes cristavarius (and associated differences in diet) on sediment accumulation and benthic invertebrate populations in a large river in North Carolina.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, MEDIUM RIVER
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Orconectes cristavarius inhabits creeks and small to medium-sized rivers with cobble and gravel substrates. This species uses large pieces of gravel and cobble as shelter (Taylor 2000). Simmons and Fraley (2010) collected it in streams 2-14 m in width under large slab rocks or cobble in midstream and along the margin in North Carolina.
Food Comments: Diet analysis showed crayfish guts contained mostly vegetative detritus but Cambarus chasmodactylus guts contained significantly more detritus and animal matter than coexisting Orconectes cristavarius, which contained more sediment (Helms and Creed, 2005).

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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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: 25Aug2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J.

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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  • Cooper, J. E. 2005. Crayfishes occurring in North Carolina. Prepared by Dr. John E. Cooper, Curator of Crustaceans, North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, N.C. 5 pp.

  • Cooper, J.E. 2010. Annotated checklist of the crayfishes of North Carolina, and correlations of distributions with hydrologic units and physiographic provinces. Journal of the North Carolina Academy of Science 126(3):69-76.

  • Helms, B.S. and R.P. Creed. 2005. The effects of 2 coexisting crayfish on an Appalachian river community. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 24(1): 113-122.

  • Hill, A.M., D.M. Sinars, and D.M. Lodge. 1993. Invasion of an occupied niche by the crayfish Orconectes rusticus- Potential importance of growth and mortality. Oecologia 94:303-306.

  • LeGrand, H.E., Jr., S.P. Hall, S.E. McRae, and J.T. Finnegan. 2006. Natural Heritage Program List of the Rare Animal Species of North Carolina. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh, North Carolina. 104 pp.

  • Loughman, Z.J. and S.A. Welsh. 2010. Distribution and conservation standing of West Virginia crayfishes. Southeastern Naturalist 9 (special issue 3):63-78.

  • Mather, M.E. and R.A. Stein. 1993. Using growth/mortality tradeoffs to explore a crayfish species replacement in stream riffles and pools. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquaculture Science 50:88-96.

  • McGrath, C. 1998. Status survey for two crayfishes in the Hiwassee River Basin: Cambarus (Puncticambarus) hiwaseensis and Cambarus (P.) chaugaensis. Nongame Project Report to the Nongame & Endangered Wildlife Program, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina.

  • 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.

  • Peake, D.R., G.J. Pond, and S.E. McMurray. 2004. Development of tolerance values for Kentucky crayfishes. Report to the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, Department for Environmental Protection, Division of Water, Frankfurt, Kentucky. 30 pp.

  • Pintor, L.M. and A. Sih. 2009. Differences in growth and foraging behavior of native and introduced populations of an invasive crayfish. Biological Invasions 11:1895-1902.

  • Simmons, J.W. and S.J. Fraley. 2010. Distribution, status, and life-history observations of crayfishes in western North Carolina. Southeastern Naturalist 9 (special issue 3):79-126.

  • Taylor, C.A. 2000. Systematic studies of the Orconectes juvenilis complex (Decapoda: Cambaridae), with descriptions of two new species. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 20(1): 132-152.

  • 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.

  • 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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