Procambarus clarkii - (Girard, 1852)
Red Swamp Crawfish
Other English Common Names: Louisiana Red, Red Crawfish
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852) (TSN 97491)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.117840
Element Code: ICMAL14440
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Crustaceans - Crayfishes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Crustacea Malacostraca Decapoda Cambaridae Procambarus
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: Procambarus clarkii
Taxonomic Comments: Electrophoretic phylogenetic analysis revealed the five southeastern species of teh subgenus Scapulicambarus revealed two cl;ades, one containing P. clarkii and P. troglodytes, and the other containing P. howellae, P. paeninsulanus, and P. okaloosae (Busack, 1989).
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: Native range extends from the Mississippi-Ohio confluence down the Mississippi River floodplain to Louisiana, and along the Gulf coastal Plain southwest to Alabama, to the Rio Grande basin in south New Mexico and north Mexico. It was widely introduced in many places throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe, and also outside its native range in North America.
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 (S3S4), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNR), California (SNA), Florida (S3), Georgia (SNA), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (S4), Indiana (SNR), Kentucky (SU), Louisiana (S5), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Mississippi (SNR), Missouri (SNR), Nevada (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (S3), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), Tennessee (S5), Texas (SNR), Utah (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), Wyoming (SNR)

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: Native range extends from the Mississippi-Ohio confluence down the Mississippi River floodplain to Louisiana, and along the Gulf coastal Plain southwest to Alabama, to the Rio Grande basin in south New Mexico and north Mexico. Mexican distribution includes Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas (Hernandez et al., 2008). It was widely introduced in many places throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe, and also outside its native range in North America. (See Hobbs, 1989). Genetic variation in introduced European populations found to be high enough to uniquely fingerprint most of the surveyed individuals (Barbaresi et al., 2003) and a similar situation exists in Asia (Yue et al., 2010). In the United States, established non-native populations now occur in California, Nevada, Idaho, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington (Taylor and Schuster, 2004).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: The species has been introduced to Massachusetts (University of Massachusetts campus pond, Amherst) and Rhode Island (University of Rhode Island campus pond, Kingston) (Smith, 2000). Recently it was found at a single in the Catawba River in North Carolina (Alderman, 2005). It has been introduced to all North Carolina river basins in the Piedmont Plateau and Coastal Plain (Cooper and Armstrong, 2007; Simmons and Fraley, 2010). It has been introduced in a variety of aquatic habitats in lentic areas in South Carolina across much of the state (Eversole and Jones, 2004).In Georgia, it has been introduced into a single stream in downtown Athens and a highly disturbed urban stream in Gwinnett Co. and an urban stream in the Etowah River system (Skelton, 2010). In the Cumberland Plateau it occurs from introductions in the Black Warrior River system in Jefferson Co., Alabama. (Bouchard, 1974). In Kentucky, it has a distribution almost identical to Procambarus viaeviridis; known from the floodplains of the extreme lower Tennessee, lower Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers and from tributaries of the Mississippi River in the extreme western portion of the state (Taylor and Schuster, 2004). In Indiana, it was collected in 2000 from Lake Michigan in Indiana and it has spread into the West Branch of the Grand Calamet River (Simon, 2001) and more recently in East Branch Calumet River in Lake Co. (Simon et al., 2005). In Ohio, it was introduced in the western end of Sandusky Bay, a fish hatchery at Denison University, and the Grand River upstream of Harpersfield Dam (Thoma and Jezerinac, 2000). In Missouri, it occurs widely in the Lowland Faunal Region (Pflieger, 1996). In Illinois it is known from lowland habitats in the extreme southern Illinois counties of Alexander, Jackson, massac, Pope, Pulaski, and Union (Page, 1985) and recently the North branch Chicago River in Chicago, Cook Co.; hundreds of km north (Taylor and Tucker, 2005). In Alabama, it is known from the Tennessee, Mobile, Black Warrior, Cahaba, Coosa, Tallapoosa, and Escambia River systems (Schuster and Taylor, 2004) as well as Alabama, Pascagoula, and Tombigbee drainages (Schuster et al., 2008). In Texas, the natural range is throughout the eastern portion along the coastal plain and upstream within rivers thatr flow from the Edwards Plateau into the Gulf (Johnson and Johnson, 2008). This species has been documented in Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila, Mexico (Dinger et al., 2005).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The red swamp crayfish is a highly invasive species which is under no threat. It is a major threat to other crayfish and to freshwater ecosystems in general. In an anomalous instance, P. acutus replaced P. clarkii in experimental culture ponds in South Carolina in <10 years (Eversole et al., 2006).

Short-term Trend: Increase of >10%

Long-term Trend: Increase of >25%

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: It is an extreme generalist and colonizer. Hypoxia found to reduce survival by 31% and growth by 16% after 12 weeks, and survival by 65% and growth by 90% after 6 weeks (McClain, 1999). Able to survive extensive periods of burrowing, including periods of air exposure, by recovering haemolymph levels rapidly following oxygen depravation and rapid excretion in burrows (McMahon and Stuart, 1999).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Native range extends from the Mississippi-Ohio confluence down the Mississippi River floodplain to Louisiana, and along the Gulf coastal Plain southwest to Alabama, to the Rio Grande basin in south New Mexico and north Mexico. Mexican distribution includes Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas (Hernandez et al., 2008). It was widely introduced in many places throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe, and also outside its native range in North America. (See Hobbs, 1989). Genetic variation in introduced European populations found to be high enough to uniquely fingerprint most of the surveyed individuals (Barbaresi et al., 2003) and a similar situation exists in Asia (Yue et al., 2010). In the United States, established non-native populations now occur in California, Nevada, Idaho, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington (Taylor and Schuster, 2004).

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 AL, AR, AZexotic, CAexotic, FL, GAexotic, HIexotic, IDexotic, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MDexotic, MO, MS, NCexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OK, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, TN, TX, UT, VAexotic, WAexotic, WY

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Color usually deep, dark red; rostrum acuminate; cervical spines present; areola linear to obliterated; palm of cheliped with row of tubercles along mesial margin of palm and chela elongate; hooks on ischia of male 3rd & 4th pereiopods; male first pleopod terminating in 4 elements, cephalic process strongly lobate and with sharp angle on caudodistal margin, lacking subapical setae, with strong angular shoulder on cephalic margin quite proximal to terminal elements, that of right pleopod wrapped around margin to appear reduced or absent (Hobbs, 1976). [LENGTH: to 60 TCL; to 125 TL] [WIDTH: to 25 mm]
Diagnostic Characteristics: Male with hooks on ischia of 3rd & 4th pereiopods; male first pleopod with lobate cephgalic process sharply angled on caudodiostal margin and sharp angular shoulder on cephalic margin proximal to terminal elements; areola narrow to obliterated.
Reproduction Comments: Year round breeder, intrapopulational variation of seasonality high & single female may produce >1 brood in a year.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Reports of migrations of males of several miles over comparatively dry areas, esp. in fall rainy season.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, Pool, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: In Missouri, it occurs more often in flowing water habitats than the white river crayfish (61% lowland streams and ditches, 79% of these with noticeable current or flow), but also in swamps, sloughs and roadside pools; bottom usually mud or sand, often where there were considerable quantities of organic debris such as logs, sticks or water-soaked tree leaves (Pflieger, 1996). It is very tolerant of low oxygen and high temperature; is a secondary burrower; and is found in almost every type habitat in sluggish streams and lentic situations. It is one of few North American crayfishes with salinity tolerance.
Adult Food Habits: Detritivore
Immature Food Habits: Detritivore
Food Comments: Opportunistic; thrives on various commercial "pet foods".
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Circadian as melatonin induces changes in excitability of photoreceptors in the eyestalks of this species (Solorzano-Garcia et al., 1999).
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Most significant aquaculture crayfish in the world and very significant fishery in LA. Hypoxia found to reduce survival by 31% and growth by 16% after 12 weeks, and survival by 65% and growth by 90% after 6 weeks (McClain, 1999). Able to survive extensive periods of burrowing, including periods of air exposure, by recovering haemolymph levels rapidly following oxygen depravation and rapid excretion in burrows (McMahon and Stuart, 1999).
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: 24Sep2008
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J. (2008); 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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Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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