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Rusty Crayfish

Rusty Crayfish

Fact Sheet
Scientific Name (Orconectes rusticus)
Classification and Permitting Level 1 - Prohibited Aquatic Nuisance Species
Species Description A rusty crayfish is a dark brown crayfish that can reach approximately 4 inches in length with large claws and rust-colored spots on each side of its body. It can be easily confused with other locally-native crayfish species.
Preferred Habitat It is typically found in lakes, ponds and streams with rocks, logs, and other debris for shelter.
Reason for ANS Designation This species can displace native species of crayfish, making them more vulnerable to fish predation. In addition, rusty crayfish can impact water quality and the ecosystem by reducing aquatic vegetation and competing with native crayfish and fish species. Once established, there is no good control method.
Place of Origin Rusty crayfish are native to the Ohio River Basin in the United States but have been moved to new locations throughout the United States since about the 1960s. The spread of this species to new locations is likely through bait releases.
Stopping the Spread Never release unused bait back into a waterbody, and do not attempt to stock a new species into a waterbody. Besides usually being illegal, new introductions may disrupt the current ecosystem.
Additional Information USDA Fact Sheet