Faxonius propinquus - (Girard, 1852)
Northern Clearwater Crayfish
Synonym(s): Orconectes iowaensis Fitzpatrick, 1968 ;Orconectes kinderhookensis Fitzpatrick and Pickett, 1980 ;Orconectes propinquus (Girard, 1852)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Orconectes propinquus (Girard, 1852) (TSN 97473)
French Common Names: Écrevisse à rostre caréné
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.120784
Element Code: ICMAL11170
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Crustaceans - Crayfishes
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Crustacea Malacostraca Decapoda Cambaridae Faxonius
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
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: Orconectes propinquus
Taxonomic Comments: Based on Crandall and De Grave (2017), the representatives of Orconectes form at least two distinct groups. The nominal group (the "cave Orconectes") form a monophyletic group that is more closely related to members of Cambarus, while the remaining "Orconectes" are more closely related to Barbicambarus, Creaserinus, and other species of Cambarus (Crandall and Fitzpatrick 1996, Fetzner 1996). As the type species of Orconectes, Orconectes inermis Cope, 1872, belongs to the cave-dwelling group, the genus is herein restricted to just those taxa. The surface-dwelling taxa now excluded from Orconectes sensu stricto are herein placed in the resurrected genus Faxonius Ortmann, 1905a, the oldest available name previously considered to be a synonym of Orconectes Cope, 1872.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Feb2016
Global Status Last Changed: 19Feb1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: This species is wide ranging and common. It has historically been abundant and widespread. It is however being outcompeted and replaced by the invasive crayfish species Orconectes rusticus in certain parts of its range, including Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Massachusettes, Vermont, Ontario, Quebec and Iowa. While these displacements and declines are not sufficient to warrent a regionally more threatened category listing, and perhaps will not unless the population numbers fall to very low levels, they are of concern.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (19Feb1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (23Nov2016)

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 Colorado (SNA), Illinois (S4), Indiana (S5), Iowa (SNR), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (S4), Minnesota (SNR), New York (SNR), Ohio (S3), Pennsylvania (S3S4), Vermont (SNR), Wisconsin (SU)
Canada Ontario (S5), Quebec (S4)

Other Statuses

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

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: It occurs in glaciated areas from Hudson Bay south through Ontario to west Massachusetts, south Wisconsin, and east Iowa (Hobbs, 1989). Fitzpatrick (1967) lists range as the Great Lakes Drainage of the U.S. and Canada, northern Hudson River drainage, Rock River drainage in Illinois and Wisconsin. Also Minnesota in Saint Louis River basin (Kutka et al., 1996).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: In New York's Hudson River drainage, Smith (1979) added Rensselaer and Washington Cos. It is found in the Hoosic River basin in Massachusetts where it is possibly native, and outside this system in southern New England it has been introduced into the Housatonic River drainage system with several established disjunct populations plus two small populations from the Connecticut River drainage system (Mill Brook in Plainfield and Swift River in Ashfield, both Westfield River basin in Massachusetts) (Smith, 2000). In Ohio it is confined to the Lake Erie basin where it can be found in the lake proper and its tributaries, but has been reduced in abundance (Thoma and Jezerinac, 2000). Jezerinac (1986) lists Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Lucas, Ottawa, Portage, Sandusky, Trumball, and Wood Cos., Ohio. It occurs in surface streams in southern Indiana but also in Pless Cave 100 feet from the entrance (Hobbs, 1976). Simon et al. (2005) cites Jordan River, Jackson Creek, Bean Blossom Creek, all in Monroe Co., for Indiana. Introduced populations were discovered in 2010 in Monument Reservoir and nearby North Lake, Las Animas Co., Colorado (C. Taylor, pers. comm., August 2010).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: In Indiana, it was found to be the second most frequently occurring species (83 of 176 sites) in a survey of Clay, Greene, Knox, Owen, Sullivan, and Vigo Cos. (Burskey and Simon, 2010).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Many populations threatened by introduced Orconectes rusticus (Fitzpatrick, 1989). Kuhlmann (2008) found that although there were some reproductive differences between sympatric and allopatric areas in the Susquehanna River watershed where Orconectes rusticus is invading native Orconectes propinquus habitat, they are not strongly indicative of reproductive interference, but instead are more likely the result of the size differences among females collected from allopatric and sympatric areas. Although ruling out reproductive interference, Kuhlmann (2008) did note the apparent success of O. rusticus as an invader in the upper Susquehanna River watershed, often at the apparent expense of O. propinquus (see Kuhlmann and Hazelton, 2007). 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 to increase of <25%

Long-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of >25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) It occurs in glaciated areas from Hudson Bay south through Ontario to west Massachusetts, south Wisconsin, and east Iowa (Hobbs, 1989). Fitzpatrick (1967) lists range as the Great Lakes Drainage of the U.S. and Canada, northern Hudson River drainage, Rock River drainage in Illinois and Wisconsin. Also Minnesota in Saint Louis River basin (Kutka et al., 1996).

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: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States COexotic, IA, IL, IN, MA, MI, MN, NY, OH, PA, VT, WI
Canada ON, QC

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
OH Ashtabula (39007), Cuyahoga (39035), Geauga (39055), Henry (39069), Lake (39085), Lorain (39093), Summit (39153), Trumbull (39155)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
04 Lower Maumee (04100009)+, Black-Rocky (04110001)+, Cuyahoga (04110002)+, Ashtabula-Chagrin (04110003)+, Grand (04110004)+, Chautauqua-Conneaut (04120101)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: a crayfish
General Description: Rostrum acuminate, usually carinate, margins subparallel and terminating in spines; cervical spines present; areola wide with 5-8 punctations in narrowest part; hooks on ischia of male 3rd pereiopods; male 1st pleopod terminating in 2 straight subparallel subequal elements, 25% of total length of pleopod, lacking prominent shoulder on cephalic margin of pleopod (Fitzpatrick, 1967). [LENGTH: to 45 TCL; to 90 TL] [WIDTH: to 20]
Diagnostic Characteristics: Hooks on ischia of only 3rd pereiopods of male; areola wide; rostrum usually carinate; male 1st pleopod as described above. Interspecific differences difficult to ascertain by inexperienced person for this group (Propinquus group).
Reproduction Comments: Amplexus in fall; spring brooding.
Ecology Comments: No known economic value.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Moderate gradient, Riffle
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: Generally inhabits the rapid parts of streams with rock/gravel substrate; prefers cool, unpolluted water. In Indiana, it is positively associated with streams with medium flow and large gravel-cobble substrates, lack of fine sediment and macrophyte growth, in wooded riparian areas (Burskey and Simon, 2010).
Adult Food Habits: Detritivore
Immature Food Habits: Detritivore
Food Comments: Opportunistic; mostly detritus. In a diet study, Saffran and Barton (1993) found the macroalga Chara was chosen over all macrophytes tested and freshwater macrophytes were not important in the diet of this species. Instead, periphytic diatoms, invertebrates, and plant detritus made up the majority of the materials consumed.
Phenology Comments: No data; presumably most active after sunset.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Jul2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 19Jun2006
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J. (2006); FITZPATRICK, J.F. (1992)

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