This powerfully built crayfish is usually a uniform olive or tan, without obvious blotches or spots except for orange or red on the pincer tips or edges of other body parts. In the Prairie Region, many individuals have a gold stripe running along the midline of the abdomen, continuing narrowly along the carapace. In the Lowlands of southeast Missouri, occasional individuals are turquoise blue, with 3 yellowish stripes on the abdomen and bright red outlining many body parts.
Similar species: Another burrowing species, the prairie crayfish (Procambarus gracilis), superficially resembles the devil crayfish. However, adults of the prairie crayfish are often bright red. Also, in male devil crayfish, the tips of the reproductive structures (gonopods) are strongly curved; in prairie crayfish, they are nearly straight.