Troglocambarus maclanei - Hobbs, 1942
North Florida Spider Cave Crayfish
Other English Common Names: North Florida spider cave crayfish
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Troglocambarus maclanei Hobbs, 1942 (TSN 97644)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.120713
Element Code: ICMAL17010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Crustaceans - Crayfishes
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Crustacea Malacostraca Decapoda Cambaridae Troglocambarus
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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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: Troglocambarus maclanei
Taxonomic Comments: Most highly modified troglobitic crayfish known, and one of perhaps two species in genus.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Jun2014
Global Status Last Changed: 05Sep2006
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This species is endemic to but not uncommon within a narrow range in Florida. There are at least 16 known localities (degree of interconnectivity between occurrences is unknown), at least three of which are under threat from habitat quality decline as a result of human disturbance by scuba divers and urban development. Population information generally is not available or is old. Further research is required to determine abundances at all caves, whether there are additional sites, and whether the other caves are impacted by other major threats.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2 (05Sep2006)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Florida (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: NT - Near threatened
American Fisheries Society Status: Vulnerable (01Aug2007)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100-1000 square km (less than about 40-400 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Restricted to Florida, USA, with most occurrences lying along a single arc about 135 km (80 miles) long and extending from Suwannee County to Hernando County. Though this constitutes a relatively small global range, the species nonetheless may be the most widely distributed troglobitic crayfish in Florida (Barr and Holsinger, 1985).

Area of Occupancy: 26-2,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Documented from approximately 16 aquatic caves, though a few more are likely to be discovered. However, some or many of these may be interconnected via a shared aquifer and hence function as fewer occurrences.

Population Size: 1000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Population information is limited and tends to be old. Hobbs (1942) recorded 24 T. maclanei at the type locality, but Doonan (2001) later recorded only two there, as well as two others at a second cave. There are no population data available for the remaining caves, and no further studies have been conducted at the type locality or the second cave of Doonan in recent years.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: None to few (0-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Because long-term and quantitative data are minimal or non-existent for most troglobitic crustaceans such as this species, there are no specific criteria by which to define a good element occurrence. In lieu of such measures, an occurrence that is observed persistently across many years, that seems to support a large population based on sightings, and that inhabits a site facing no immediate threats will be considered good.

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Presumably sensitive to degradation of aquifers (pollution), alteration (especially reduction) of detrital flow, and saltwater intrusion that may accompany excessive water withdrawal (for agriculture, industry, and human consumption) or sea level rise. The species is also threatened by disturbance from scuba divers in at least three caves (Doonan, 2001) and by urban development (and potential groundwater pollution) surrounding Gainesville. It is unknown whether any specimens are removed by collectors.

Short-term Trend: Unknown

Long-term Trend: Unknown

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: As a cave species dependent upon detrital flow as well as the quantity and quality of water in the aquifer, it is presumably delicate. This is exacerbated by its narrow distribution. However, temporary presence of scuba divers should cause no lasting damage.

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Conduct field surveys to determine the extent, distribution, connectivity, and statuses of all occurrences. For each population, record geographic extent, population demographics and densities, types and levels of threats, and kind and degree of protection if any.

Protection Needs: Legal protection (by acquisition and/or perpetual conservation easement) of at least some occurrences, including substantial buffer areas. Consider state and potentially federal listing. Restrict commercial exploitation.

Global Range: (<100-1000 square km (less than about 40-400 square miles)) Restricted to Florida, USA, with most occurrences lying along a single arc about 135 km (80 miles) long and extending from Suwannee County to Hernando County. Though this constitutes a relatively small global range, the species nonetheless may be the most widely distributed troglobitic crayfish in Florida (Barr and Holsinger, 1985).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

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

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Alachua (12001), Citrus (12017), Gilchrist (12041), Hernando (12053), Levy (12075), Marion (12083), Suwannee (12121)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Oklawaha (03080102)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Waccasassa (03110101)+, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+, Santa Fe (03110206)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: north Florida spider (or McLane's) cave crayfish, Cambaridae.
General Description: Body and eyes unpigmented, eyes unfaceted; rostrum with margins sharply convergent and without spines or tubercles, acumen obtuse but apex acute; cervical and hepatic spines lacking; areola broad with 8-10 punctations in narrowest part; 3rd maxilliped much enlarged, reaching beyond apex of rostrum; chela extremely slender and elongate, mesial margin of palm with single row of tiny tubercles giving undulant appearance; male with hooks on ischia of 3rd & 4th pereiopods, coxa of 4th with small but prominent caudomesial boss; male 1st pleopods asymmetrical, terminating in 4 elements, cephalic process small short and acute, central projection beak-like and directed at nearly right angle to main axis of pleopod, mesial process stout terminating in acute tip directed at just short of right angles and distal fifth reflected proximad, caudal process digitiform and not associated with caudal knob, subterminal setae absent, lacking cephalic shoulder; branchial formula 16 + ep. (Hobbs, Hobbs and Daniel, 1977). [LENGTH: to 17 TL, to 35 TL] [WIDTH: to 8]
Diagnostic Characteristics: Albinistic with unfaceted eyes; 3rd maxilliped extending beyond apex of rostrum; branchial formula 16 + ep. (vs. 17 + ep. in Procambarus and other Cambarinae genera); asymmetrical pleopods terminating in 4 elements, lacking cephalic shoulder and subapical setae; very slender elongate chelipeds.
Reproduction Comments: Reproductively active males in Mar, Jul, Aug, & Sep; no data on amplexus or brooding.
Ecology Comments: Most animals hang ventral side uppermost from ceilings of caves, rarely dropping to floor, floor coated with fine silt and often with tree litter.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: No data; home range probably does not exceed 25 m.
Subterranean Habitat(s): Subaquatic
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Subterranean obligate
Habitat Comments: Subterranean/karstic waters near sites of detrital input, particularly large sinkholes and areas under bat roosts in caves.
Food Comments: No data; probably purely opportunistic; morphology and some behavior patters suggests filter feeding, but no data to support this thesis, some inferences to refute it.
Phenology Comments: No data; probably responds more to seasonal changes than to light regimen.
Economic Attributes
Economic Comments: No known economic value.
Management Summary
Biological Research Needs: Most aspects of its biology require study. Studies of life history, fecundity, and precise environmental needs would be valuable. Determine population responses to disturbances such as pollution of groundwater and alterations in surface water and detrital flow. Determine interrelationships(connectivity) among known sites.
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
Justification: Use the Generic Element Occurrence Rank Specifications (2008).
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 06Jun2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jackson, D. R. (2014, 2013); Cordeiro, J. (2009)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 09Jun1992
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): FITZPATRICK, J.F.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Barr, T. C., Jr. and J. R. Holsinger. 1985. Speciation in cave faunas. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 16:313-337.

  • Deyrup, M. and R. Franz. 1994. Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida, Volume IV. Invertebrates. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, Florida. 798 pp.

  • Doonan, T.J. 2001. Survey of Squirrel Chimney and other selected caves to determine the status of Squirrel Chimney cave shrimp (Palaemonetes cummingi). Final Performance Report, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida, USA. 44 pp.

  • Franz, R. (ed.) 1982. Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida: Volume Six: Invertebrates. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, Florida. 131 pp.

  • Franz, R., J. Bauer, and T. Morris. 1994. Review of biologically significant caves and their faunas in Florida and south Georgia. Brimleyana 20:1-109.

  • Franz, R., and J. A. Bauer. 1983a. Cave Site Report: Orange Lake Cave. Unpublished report to Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

  • Franz, R., and J. A. Bauer. 1983b. Cave Site Report: Chert Cave, Marion Co., Florida. Unpublished report to Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

  • Hobbs, H.H., Jr. 1942. A generic revision of the crayfishes of the subfamily Cambaridae (Decapoda, Astacidae) with the description of a new genus and species. American Midland Naturalist 28(2):334-357.

  • 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, H.H., Jr., H.H. Hobbs III., and M.A. Daniels. 1977. A review of the troglobitic decapod crustaceans of the Americas. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 244: 1-183.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Walsh, S.J. 2001. Freshwater macrofauna of Florida karst habitats. Pages 78-88 in E. Kuniansky (ed.). 2001. U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, St. Petersburg, Florida, February 13-16, 2001.USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4011.

  • Walsh, S.J. 2001. Freshwater macrofauna of Florida karst habitats. Pages 78-88 in E. Kuniansky (ed.). U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, St. Petersburg, Florida, February 13-16, 2001, USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4011.

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