Woodland Crayfish

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

This is a stout, reddish-tan to dark brown crayfish with numerous blackish specks and blotches on the pincers, carapace and abdomen. A narrow crescent-shaped dark band extends across the carapace at its junction with the abdomen. A pair of whitish spots occur laterally on the first abdominal segment. The woodland crayfish is easily distinguished from other similar species within its range by its brown coloration and blotched and speckled color pattern. It somewhat resembles the Ozark crayfish (Orconectes ozarkae), but the two species do not occur in the same river basins (except for the introduced populations).

Adult length: about 1 to 2 1/2 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in streams of all sizes, from the smallest headwater creeks to the largest Ozark rivers, but it is most abundant in creeks and small rivers. These are characterized by permanent flow, silt-free, rocky and gravelly substrates and low turbidity. This crayfish occupies burrows it digs beneath rocks and boulders, in riffles, in runs and in silt-free rocky or gravelly pools.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Most abundant and generally distributed crayfish in Black River and its tributaries; occurs sparingly in headwaters of Big River. It has been introduced into several streams (such as Stouts Creek and Carver Creek) in Iron and Madison counties.
The woodland crayfish occurs only in Missouri.
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