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Crayfish, also known as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, mudbugs or yabbies, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters (to which they are related). Taxonomically, they are members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea. They breathe through feather-like gills. Some species are found in brooks and streams where there is running fresh water, while others thrive in swamps, ditches, and paddy fields. Most crayfish cannot tolerate polluted water, although some species such as Procambarus clarkii are hardier. Crayfish feed on animals and plants, either living or decomposing, and detritus.[1]

Crayfish
Temporal range: Mesozoic–Recent
Paranephrops.jpg
Northern kōura, Paranephrops planifrons (Parastacidae)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocyemata
Infraorder: Astacidea
Superfamily: Astacoidea
Latreille, 1802
and Parastacoidea
Huxley, 1879
Families
Astacoidea
Parastacoidea

Contents

NamesEdit

The name "crayfish" comes from the Old French word escrevisse (Modern French écrevisse).[2] The word has been modified to "crayfish" by association with "fish" (folk etymology).[2] The largely American variant "crawfish" is similarly derived.[2]

Some kinds of crayfish are known locally as lobsters,[3] crawdads,[4] mudbugs,[4] and yabbies. In the Eastern United States, "crayfish" is more common in the north, while "crawdad" is heard more in central and southwestern regions, and "crawfish" further south, although there are considerable overlaps.[5]

The study of crayfish is called astacology.[6]

Other animalsEdit

In Australia (on the eastern seaboard), New Zealand and South Africa, the term crayfish or cray generally refers to a saltwater spiny lobster, of the genus Jasus that is indigenous to much of southern Oceania,[7] while the freshwater species are usually called yabby or kōura, from the indigenous Australian and Māori names for the animal respectively, or by other names specific to each species. Exceptions include western rock lobster (of the Palinuridae family) found on the west coast of Australia; the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish (from the Parastacidae family) found only in Tasmania; and the Murray crayfish found along Australia's Murray River.

In Singapore, the term crayfish typically refers to Thenus orientalis, a seawater crustacean from the slipper lobster family.[8][9][10] True crayfish are not native to Singapore, but are commonly found as pets, or as an invasive species (Cherax quadricarinatus) in the many water catchment areas, and are alternatively known as freshwater lobsters.[11][12]

AnatomyEdit

The body of a decapod crustacean, such as a crab, lobster, or prawn (shrimp), is made up of twenty body segments grouped into two main body parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Each segment may possess one pair of appendages, although in various groups these may be reduced or missing. On average, crayfish grow to 17.5 centimetres (6.9 in) in length, but some grow larger. Walking legs have a small claw at the end.

Geographical distribution and classificationEdit

There are three families of crayfish, two in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere (Gondwana-distributed) family Parastacidae lives in South America, Madagascar and Australasia, and is distinguished by the lack of the first pair of pleopods.[13] Of the other two families, members of the Astacidae live in western Eurasia and western North America and members of the family Cambaridae live in eastern Asia and eastern North America.

Madagascar has an endemic genus, Astacoides, containing seven species.[14]

Europe is home to seven species of crayfish in the genera Astacus and Austropotamobius.

Cambaroides is native to Japan and eastern mainland Asia.

North AmericaEdit

The greatest diversity of crayfish species is found in southeastern North America, with over 330 species in nine genera, all in the family Cambaridae. A further genus of astacid crayfish is found in the Pacific Northwest and the headwaters of some rivers east of the Continental Divide. Many crayfish are also found in lowland areas where the water is abundant in calcium, and oxygen rises from underground springs.[15]

In 1983, Louisiana designated the crayfish, or crawfish as they are commonly referred, as their official state crustacean.[16] Louisiana produces 100 million pounds of crawfish per year with the red swamp and white river crawfish being the two most popular species to harvest.[17] Crawfish are a special part of Cajun culture dating back hundreds of years.[18] A variety of cottage industries have developed as a result of commercialized crawfish iconology, such as products with crawfish attached to wooden plaques, T-shirts with crawfish logos, and crawfish pendants, earrings and necklaces made of gold or silver.[19]

AustraliaEdit

Australia has over 100 species in a dozen genera. In Australia, many of the better-known crayfish are of the genus Cherax, and include the marron from Western Australia (now believed to be two species, Cherax tenuimanus and C. cainii), red-claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), common yabby (Cherax destructor) and western yabby (Cherax preissii). The marron are some of the largest crayfish in the world. They grow up to several pounds in size.[20] C. tenuimanus is critically endangered, while other large Australasian crayfish are threatened or endangered. Australia is home to the world's two largest freshwater crayfish – the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish Astacopsis gouldi, which can achieve a mass of over 5 kilograms (11 lb) and is found in rivers of northern Tasmania,[21] and the Murray crayfish Euastacus armatus, which can reach 2 kilograms (4.4 lb) and is found in much of the southern Murray-Darling basin.

New ZealandEdit

In New Zealand, two species of Paranephrops are endemic, and are known by the Māori name kōura.[22]

Fossil recordEdit

Fossil records of crayfish older than 30 million years are rare, but fossilised burrows have been found from strata as old as the late Palaeozoic or early Mesozoic.[23] The oldest records of the Parastacidae are in Australia, and are 115 million years old.[24]

Crayfish plagueEdit

Some crayfish suffer from a disease called crayfish plague, caused by the North American water mould Aphanomyces astaci which was transmitted to Europe when North American species of crayfish were introduced there.[25] Species of the genus Astacus are particularly susceptible to infection, allowing the plague-coevolved signal crayfish to invade parts of Europe.

UsesEdit

Human uses
Crayfish, boiled with potatoes and corn
A pet crayfish, Procambarus clarkii in a freshwater aquarium
Golden Crayfish Pendant, Chiriqui, Panama, c. 11th to 16th century AD

FoodEdit

Crayfish are eaten worldwide. Like other edible crustaceans, only a small portion of the body of a crayfish is eaten. In most prepared dishes, such as soups, bisques and étouffées, only the tail portion is served. At crawfish boils or other meals where the entire body of the crayfish is presented, other portions, such as the claw meat, may be eaten. Like all crustaceans, crayfish are not kosher because they are aquatic animals that do not have both fins and scales.[26] They are therefore not eaten by observant Jews.[27]

As of 2005, Louisiana supplies 95% of the crayfish harvested in the US.[28] In 1987, Louisiana produced 90% of the crayfish harvested in the world, 70% of which were consumed locally.[29] In 2007, the Louisiana crawfish harvest was about 54,800 tons, almost all of it from aquaculture.[30] About 70%–80% of crayfish produced in Louisiana are Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crawfish), with the remaining 20%–30% being Procambarus zonangulus (white river crawfish).[31]

BaitEdit

Crayfish are preyed upon by a variety of ray-finned fishes,[32] and are commonly used as bait, either live or with only the tail meat. They are a popular bait for catching catfish,[33] largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass,[34] perch, pike[35] and muskie.[36] When using live crayfish as bait, anglers prefer to hook them between the eyes, piercing through their hard, pointed beak which causes them no harm; therefore, they remain more active.[37]

When using crayfish as bait, it is important to fish in the same environment where they were caught. An Illinois State University report that focused on studies conducted on the Fox River and Des Plaines River watershed stated that rusty crayfish, initially caught as bait in a different environment, were dumped into the water and "outcompeted the native clearwater crayfish."[38] Other studies confirmed that transporting crayfish to different environments have led to various ecological problems, including the elimination of native species.[39] Transporting crayfishes as live bait has also contributed to the spread of zebra mussels in various waterways throughout Europe and North America, as they are known to attach themselves to exoskeleton of crayfishes.[40][41][42]

PetsEdit

Crayfish are kept as pets in freshwater aquariums, typically with bluegill or bass, rather than goldfish or tropical or subtropical fish. They prefer foods like shrimp pellets or various vegetables, but will also eat tropical fish food, regular fish food, algae wafers, and small fish that can be captured with their claws. A report by the National Park Service[43] as well as video and anecdotal reports by aquarium owners[44] indicate that crayfish will eat their molted exoskeleton "to recover the calcium and phosphates contained in it."[43] As omnivores, crayfish will eat almost anything; therefore, they may explore the edibility of aquarium plants in a fish tank. However, most species of dwarf crayfish, such as Cambarellus patzcuarensis, will not destructively dig or eat live aquarium plants.[45] They are also relatively non-aggressive and can be kept safely with dwarf shrimp.

In some nations, such as the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and New Zealand, imported alien crayfish are a danger to local rivers. The three species commonly imported to Europe from the Americas are Orconectes limosus, Pacifastacus leniusculus and Procambarus clarkii.[25] Crayfish may spread into different bodies of water because specimens captured for pets in one river are often released into a different catchment. There is a potential for ecological damage when crayfish are introduced into non-native bodies of water: e.g., crayfish plague in Europe, or the introduction of the common yabby (Cherax destructor) into drainages east of the Great Dividing Range in Australia.[46]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ a b c "crayfish". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ C. W. Hart Jr. (1994). "A dictionary of non-scientific names of freshwater crayfishes (Astacoidea and Parastacoidea), including other words and phrases incorporating crayfish names". Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology. 38 (38): 1–127. doi:10.5479/si.00810223.38.1. hdl:10088/1372. 
  4. ^ a b Pableaux Johnson. "Mudbug Madness : Crawfish". Bayou Dog. Archived from the original on 19 August 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2006. 
  5. ^ Bert Vaux; Scott A. Golder. "Dialect survey". Harvard University. Retrieved 30 September 2006. 
  6. ^ "About the International Association of Astacology". Archived from the original on 5 April 2005. 
  7. ^ Harold W. Sims Jr. (1965). "Let's call the spiny lobster "spiny lobster"". Crustaceana. 8 (1): 109–110. doi:10.1163/156854065X00613. JSTOR 20102626. 
  8. ^ "Sweet Chilli Crayfish (龙马精神)". mywoklife.com. 13 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "FAR OCEAN SEA PRODUCTS (PRIVATE) LIMITED". dollarvietnam.com. 
  10. ^ Classic Asian Noodles. Marshall Cavendish. 2007. ISBN 9812613358. 
  11. ^ Shane T. Ahyong; Darren C. J. Yeo (2007). "Feral populations of the Australian Red-Claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus von Martens) in water supply catchments of Singapore". Biol Invasions. 9 (8): 943–946. doi:10.1007/s10530-007-9094-0. 
  12. ^ "Crayfish (aka Freshwater Lobster) – Arofanatics Fish Talk Forums". 9 December 2004. 
  13. ^ Horton H. Hobbs Jr. (1974). "Synopsis of the families and genera of crayfishes (Crustacea: Decapoda)" (PDF). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. 164 (164): 1–32. doi:10.5479/si.00810282.164. 
  14. ^ Christopher B. Boyko; Olga Ramilijaona Ravoahangimalala; Désiré Randriamasimanana; Tony Harilala Razafindrazaka (2005). "Astacoides hobbsi, a new crayfish (Crustacea: Decapoda: Parastacidae) from Madagascar" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1091: 41–51. 
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  16. ^ "The Crawfish – Louisiana's State Crustacean". American Profile. August 11, 2002. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Crawfish Louisiana State Crustacean". State of Louisiana-Department of Administration. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Crawfish Deeply Rooted in Louisiana Culture". Voice of America. April 19, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
  19. ^ Gutierrez, C. Paige (January 1, 2012). Cajun Foodways. University Press of Mississippi. p. 78. ISBN 9781604736021. Retrieved November 25, 2017. 
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  21. ^ "Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Lobster (Astacopsis gouldi)". Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  22. ^ "Kōura". NIWA. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  23. ^ Alycia L. Rode & Loren E. Babcock (2003). "Phylogeny of fossil and extant freshwater crayfish and some closely related nephropid lobsters". Journal of Crustacean Biology. 23 (2): 418–435. doi:10.1651/0278-0372(2003)023[0418:POFAEF]2.0.CO;2. JSTOR 1549646. 
  24. ^ Emory University (12 February 2008). "Oldest Australian crayfish fossils provide missing evolutionary link". ScienceDaily. 
  25. ^ a b James R. Lee (5 December 1998). "TED Case Studies Crayfish Plague #478 European Crayfish Dispute". Archived from the original on 10 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  26. ^ "Kosher defined". Triangle K. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  27. ^ Meyer-Rochow, Victor Benno (2009). "Food taboos: their origins and purposes". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 5-18:: 1–10. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-5-18. 
  28. ^ Robert P. Romaire, W. Ray McClain, Mark G. Shirley and C. Greg Lutz, Crawfish Aquaculture — Marketing (SRAC Publication No. 2402). October 2005. Southern Regional Aquaculture Center.
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  36. ^ "Tips on How to Catch Muskie". Fishing Tips Depot. 2018-07-27. Retrieved 2018-07-27. 
  37. ^ Bean, Richard Alden (2011-04-06). "Crayfish: What Better Spring Bait For Bass?". Game & Fish. Retrieved 2018-07-27. 
  38. ^ "Fox and Des Plaines Rivers Watershed". Critical Trends in Illinois Ecosystems (PDF). Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 2001. 
  39. ^ Tennessee Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (2007). Tennessee Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan (PDF). Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. 
  40. ^ "Hawaii Risk Analyses and Management for Dreissenid Mussels" (PDF). US Fish & Wildlife. 2012. p. 3. Retrieved July 27, 2018. 
  41. ^ "zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) - Species Profile". Nonindigenous Aquatic Species. 2005-11-16. Retrieved 2018-07-27. 
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  44. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. 2018-04-12. Retrieved 2018-07-27. 
  45. ^ Gerald Pottern. "Mexican dwarf orange crayfish, Cambarellus patzcuarensis". Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  46. ^ Coughran, J, Mccormack, R, Daly, G (2009). "Translocation of the Yabby Cherax destructor into eastern drainages of New South Wales, Australia". Australian Zoologist. 35: 100–103. doi:10.7882/AZ.2009.009. Retrieved 10 May 2018. 

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit