Vernal Crayfish

Procambarus viaeviridus
Cambaridae (freshwater crayfish) in the order Decapoda (shrimp, crabs, and lobsters)

Adults of this crayfish are rust-red with a blackish wedge-shaped central stripe along the length of the abdomen. The carapace is smooth and is separated at the middle by a narrow space (areola). The rostrum is broad and without lateral notches or spines near its tip. The pincers are moderately long and slender. Other similar crayfish within the range of the species are the red swamp crayfish and the White River crayfish. These species have a narrower rostrum (often with lateral spines) and a granular (roughened) carapace.

Adult length: about 1 3/4 to 3 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
In February and March, when water levels are high, this crayfish is found in shallow, seasonally flooded swamps, sloughs and other depressions. It avoids flowing-water habitats. As water levels recede in late spring and early summer, it retreats into burrows, not to be seen again until the next wet-weather period.
Distribution in Missouri: 
The vernal crayfish occurs in the lowlands of southeastern Missouri as far north as Bollinger County. Most records are concentrated along the Ozark border in Ripley, Butler and Stoddard counties.
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