Spothanded Crayfish

Orconectes punctimanus
Cambaridae (freshwater crayfish) in the order Decapoda (shrimp, crabs, and lobsters)

The most distinctive feature of this moderately large crayfish is the presence of a conspicuous black spot on each pincer near the base of the movable finger. The carapace is reddish brown or olive-brown, with a narrow crescent-shaped dark bar across its hind margin. The abdomen is olive-green, with bright red outlining the free margins of all its segments. The pincers, carapace and abdomen are without conspicuous dark specks or blotches. The conspicuous black spot on each pincer readily distinguishes the spothanded crayfish from other species within its range.

Adult length: about 1 1/4 to 4 1/2 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
This crayfish occurs in clear, permanent-flowing streams of all sizes, from small headwater creeks to large Ozark rivers and also in spring branches. Frequently found in backwaters and in protected areas along shores. Within its range, this is the most frequently encountered crayfish (that has eyes and pigment) in cave streams.
This alert, active crayfish is a strong swimmer; at night it grazes on algae growing on rocks. This species has also been recorded feeding on a dead sucker (fish) lying on the bottom of a pool.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Occurs only in the Ozark Region of Missouri and Arkansas. It occurs in all principal drainages except the Osage and Neosho (Spring-Elk). In the White river basin, it is confined to the North Fork and Bryant Creek.
This species is quite variable in coloration and some other characteristics, and it perhaps consists of several subspecies or maybe even two or more recognizable species.
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