Update on 9-28-11


   I have been watching the progress of the rusty crawfish for about a decade now with keen interest. My sources of information is not only through internet research but through hundreds and hundreds of reports I've received from customers all across North America. Part of the reports come from both Federal and State departments, who I have sold traps to, that are currently attempting to control rusty populations in their own given areas. 

 Below I have clipped in some articles and pictures I have found interesting from the internet. I must state that some of the information I don't really agree with, but for the most part the information is quite valid, with the exception being that the information seems to be copied from one site to another and so on without any actual field work or extended studies conducted by individual States.

 One valid piece of information that is seriously lacking in any information I have ever read is how big do many different species get plus a strong misconception on how long do some species live. I have personally caught Pacifasticus, (signal), crawfish over 14 inches long from tip of tail to the tip of its horns weighing 1.5 pounds. I know of a lake in Bellingham, WA. where the larger crawfish are 25 years old and average a pound each, I've had many reports of rusty crawfish reaching lengths of 10-12 inches in length. So, to wrap it up how are the Feds, State, and Sportsman, going to stem the tide of these super breeders and fresh hatched crawfish when they don't have a trap that can catch them? As it currently stands, most states in the nation have different degrees of Rusty Crawfish populations, which are spreading.




Rusty CrayfishRusty Crayfish

Click here to enlarge image

Rusty Crayfish

Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) are invasive crustaceans spreading to lakes, rivers, and streams in several areas of North America. They are more aggressive than other native crayfish, better able to avoid fish predation, and can harm native fish populations by eating their eggs and young. They can displace native crayfish, hybridize with them, and graze on and eliminate aquatic plants.

Native to the Ohio River drainage, rusty crayfish have spread to several U.S. states and Ontario. They have likely spread through bait bucket release by anglers, aquarium release by hobbyists, activities of commercial harvesters, and live study specimen release by teachers and students who buy them from biological supply houses. Females can carry fertilized eggs or a male's sperm so even the release of a single female could establish a new population. Eradicating established infestations is impossible. Your help detecting and reporting new infestations is vital for preventing their spread.

What you can do:
Learn to identify rusty crayfish (see back cover).
Inspect and remove aquatic plants and animals from boat, motor, and trailer.
Drain lake or river water from livewell and bilge before leaving access.
Dispose of unwanted live bait and study specimens in the trash.
Never dump live fish or crayfish from one body of water into another.

Report new sightings - note exact location; freeze specimen in a sealed plastic bag; and call a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in: WI (715) 682-6185, NY (716) 691-5456, MN (612) 713-5114.

REMINDER: Know the rules!
Specimens are needed to confirm sightings, but some jurisdictions prohibit possession of rusty crayfish and other invasive aquatic animals and plants. Others may restrict possession for specific uses only. Contact your local natural resource management agency for instructions. Unauthorized introduction of crayfish, fish, or plants into the wild is illegal. Protect your property and our waters.




(From Arizona)

Help Protect Our Fisheries From Crayfish
Help reduce crayfish populations in our waters by removing crayfish at every opportunity. Crayfish are not native to Arizona, yet they have become established in many waters throughout the state. they endanger aquatic native species as well as sport fish by:

• Preying on all life stages of fish, amphibians and invertebrates

• Aggressively competing for habitat and food

• Destroying productive habitat in our streams, ponds and lakes Be careful with the use and disposal of crayfish.

• It is unlawful to transport live crayfish (except for that part of southwestern Arizona south of I-10 and west of Highway 95).

• If you intend to keep and eat crayfish, pack them in ice for transport. This will kill them  while keeping them fresh until you arrive at your destination.

• By law, you may only use live crayfish as bait in the same body of water where they were caught.

• Do not throw unused bait crayfish, or bait of any kind, back into the water alive.

With a valid fishing license (or for youth under age 14), an unlimited number of crayfish may be caught by the following methods:

• By hand or hand-held device, such as a fishing pole.

• Landing nets, dip nets or umbrella nets

• Crayfish nets or traps not exceeding 3 feet on a side or diameter

• Cast nets not exceeding a 4-foot radius

• Minnow traps not exceeding 1 foot in height and width, and 2 feet in length

• Seine nets not exceeding 10 feet in length and 4 feet in width

• Crayfish may be caught during the day or night.

See www.azgfd.gov for more information on crayfish capture methods and cooking recipes.

A major threat

The rusty crayfish is an invasive species native to the Ohio River drainage. It's had negative effects on fisheries and aquatic ecosystems in the Great Lakes region, in at least 17 other states and in southern Canada.

Elizabeth Brown, invasive species coordinator for the CDOW, says the discovery of rusty crayfish in the Yampa Basin is the first time the species has been found in Colorado.

Rusty crayfish are large and aggressive. They can affect a fishery or an aquatic ecosystem two major ways:

Why rusty crayfish are spreading

People have moved the rusty crayfish well outside its native range.

No one has found the rusty crayfish in Utah. But Colorado's recent discovery indicates the crayfish is moving westward. Crayfish are moved several ways:




Federal Government

Orconectes rusticus
Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

Rusty Crayfish
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.

Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

Harmful Aquatic Hitchhikers: Crustaceans: Rusty Crayfish
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers.

Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution; Controls

Orconectes rusticus Article Citation Search - AGRICOLA Database
USDA. National Agricultural Library.
Research; Special Note: NAL Catalog Search (resources)

Rusty Crayfish
DOI. FWS. Ashland National Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Dispersion

Orconectes rusticus - Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database
DOI. USGS. Southeast Ecological Science Center.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution; Special Note: Distribution maps and collection information (State and County)

State Government

Aquatic Invasive Species: Rusty Crayfish (PDF | 131 KB)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls; Special Note: Rusty Crayfish Watchcard (PDF | 110 KB)

Rusty Crayfish (PDF | 104 KB)
Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution

Rusty Crayfish
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
Photographs; Illustrations; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution; Controls

Invasion of the Rusty Crayfish (PDF | 1.4 MB)
Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution

Rusty Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Dispersion; Legal Aspects; Controls

Rusty Crayfish Fact Sheet (PDF | 68 KB)
Conservation Commission of Missouri.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Illustrations; Impacts; Distribution

Orconectes rusticus (Rusty Crayfish)
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Taxonomy; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution;

Environmental Education for Kids: Rusty Crayfish
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls


Rusty Crayfish - Exotic Aquatics on the Move
National Sea Grant Network and Geographic Education Alliances.

Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Habitat; Controls

Aquatic Invaders: Rusty Crayfish (PDF | 660 KB)
University of Georgia. Sea Grant and Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Orconectes rusticus, Rusty Crayfish
University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology. Animal Diversity Web.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution

Rusty Crayfish: A Nasty Invader
University of Minnesota. Minnesota Sea Grant
Identification/Description; Illustrations; Introduction History; Impacts; Habitat; Life Cycle; Distribution; Controls; Special Note: References

Aquatic Invaders: Rusty Crayfish (PDF | 634 KB)
National Sea Grant College Program; Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Rusty Crayfish (PDF | 341 KB)
Pennsylvania Sea Grant and Penn State Erie.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution; Controls


Rusty Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (Canada). Invading Species Awareness Program.
Identification/Description; Illustrations; Introduction History; Impacts; Life Cycle; Distribution; Controls

Orconectes rusticus (crustacean) - ISSG Global Invasive Species Database
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Controls


Rusty Crayfish in the Great Lakes Region
Great Lakes Information Network.
Photographs; Introduction History

Rusty Crayfish: Invasive Species of Concern in Maryland
Maryland Invasive Species Council.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Distribution; Dispersion; Legal Aspects





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