Orconectes rafinesquei - Rhoades, 1944
Rough River Crayfish
Other English Common Names: Rafinesque's Crayfish
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Orconectes rafinesquei Rhoades, 1944 (TSN 97477)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.110054
Element Code: ICMAL11080
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: 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 rafinesquei
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Jul2009
Global Status Last Changed: 29Jan2008
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Restricted range that is fragmented by a large reservoir but there are less than 100 occurrences. Currently, it has no known major threats, however it is present in the Rough River Lake which is under intensive fishing pressure.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (29Jan2008)

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 (S2)

Other Statuses

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

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Known from the lower Green River drainage in a three-to-four county area of west-central Kentucky.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: It has a limited distribution in the lower Ohio and Green River drainages; occurs throughout the entire Rough River drainage, and sporadically in Green River tributaries downstream of Mud River in Muhlenberg Co.; and it also occurs in some Ohio River tributaries from Breckinridge to Henderson Cos. (Taylor and Schuster, 2004; Burr et al., 2004).

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Historically the groundwater was heavily polluted from septic tanks and agricultural pesticides, however, this has improved significantly. Currently it is under no known threats. It is subject to a potential threat from invasive species. It is present in the Rough River Lake which is under intensive fishing pressure. If bait escape leads to the establishment of an invasive species, this narrow range Orconetces crayfish could suffer displacement and population decline.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: It is considered currently stable (Burr et al., 2004).

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

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)) Known from the lower Green River drainage in a three-to-four county area of west-central Kentucky.

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 state or province

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

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: a crayfish
General Description: Pigmented, eyes normal; rostrum with margins slightly converging and terminating in small acute spines or tubercles, well developed acumen, acarinate; cervical spine prominent, hepatic spines absent; areola narrow with 4-6 punctations in narrowest part; mesial margin of chela 1-2 irregular rows of 6-9 subsquamous tubercles, palm somewhat inflated; male with hook on ischium only of 3rd pereiopod, coxa of 4th lacking caudomesial boss; male 1st pleopod terminating in 2 comparatively short straight subparallel subequal elements, lacking shoulder on cephalic margin, both elements tapering base to subacute tip (Rhoades, 1944). [LENGTH: to 25 TCL, to 50 TL] [WIDTH: to 13]
Diagnostic Characteristics: Pigmented, eyes normal, rostral margins slightly converging and ending in small spines, distinctly acuminate, acarinate; chela with 1-2 rows of subsquamous tubercles along mesial margin of palm, palm somewhat inflated; male with hook only on 3rd pereipod, coxa of 4th lacking boss; male 1st pleopod with 2 comparatively short subparallel subequal elements, lacking cephalic shoulder.
Reproduction Comments: Basically late fall amplexus, spring brooding.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Home range probably does not exceed 50 m.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Moderate gradient
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Itis found under rocks or debris in streams, however, if there is no cover available it is able to make shallow burrows in muddy substrate (Rhoades, 1944).
Food Comments: No data; probably opportunistic.
Phenology Comments: No data; probably most active after sundown.
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. (2009); Taylor, C. (1996)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Jul2009
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J. (2009); 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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  • Burr, B.M., J.T. Spiorski, M.R. Thomas, K.S. Cummings, and C.A. Taylor. 2004. Fishes, mussels, crayfish, and aquatic habitats of the Hoosier-Shawnee Ecological Assessment Area. Pages 109-171 in General Technical Report NC-244, St. Paul, Minnesota: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station. 267 pp.

  • 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.

  • Rhoades, R. 1944. The crayfishes of Kentucky, with notes on variation, distribution and descriptions of new species and subspecies. The American Midland Naturalist 31(1):111-149.

  • 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.

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