About 32 North American species in the family Notonectidae
Sometimes called “water bees” or “water wasps,” backswimmers are predaceous and can deliver a painful bite if mishandled. True to their name, they swim belly-up, and their backs are keeled like a boat, which makes back-swimming easier.
This moderately small, brown crayfish has a very localized distribution centered in Big Creek and its tributaries, in the St. Francis River basin. It lacks bright colors, but blackish specks and blotches occur over the top surfaces of the body and pincers.
Our two species of dwarf crayfish are both reddish brown to gray, with a paired series of dark, wavy stripes or dashed lines along the dorsal surface. In Missouri, these species are found in the lowlands of the southeast or the Mississippi River floodplain.
This rather plain, gray-green crayfish--usually only found in the northern half of the state--has a pale central zone along the middle of the carapace and abdomen. The pincers are orange-tipped, and in mature males are tinged with purple.
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