Crayfish Reproduction


I've had many emails concerning breeding crayfish. I hope this page will reduce some of that mail. This is very general as there is quite alot of difference from species to species. Remember crayfish are found on nearly every continent from tropical to near freezing temperatures. Therefore what is written below is just the basics applicable to all crayfish. I suggest if you are interested in a particular species that you get additional information from the aquaculture industry.

Crayfish are either male or female but it is not uncommon to find individuals with both male and female genital openings, in most instances these crayfish are found to be male.

The female genital openings are located at number 5, the male openings are located at number 6.

The photograph on the right is from the crayfish identification page.

In the mating process males place a sperm packet on the underside of the female's belly
( it looks something like a little cottonwool ball).

She curls up her tail and as she expresses the eggs she passes them through the sperm down on to her tail and attaches them to the swimmeretes.


This photograph shows this mating process, thanks go to Chris in Germany for this great photo.

Eggs stay on the tail for at least four weeks for warmer water species and much longer for the cold water species. There is also other variables such as food and water conditions which can effect this gestation period.

Generally breeding occurs in spring. Some species respond to stimuli such as the amount of light there exposed too. Tropical crayfish can breed all year round because there temperature environment is more stable.

Unlike saltwater crayfish, freshwater crayfish have large eggs and they are 'mothered' by the female for a period after birth.

This shows the eggs attached to the swimmerets


Further information on young crayfish can be found on the nursery page.