Cambarus continued

Text by Roger F. Thoma

The Paintedhand Crayfish Cambarus sp.

This is a burrowing species that inhabits wetlands associated with streams and stream bank areas. They burrow quite deep and frequently have very complex burrow systems, usually with a chamber somewhere in the lower environs. It is presently undescribed. My mentor, Raymond Filex Jezerinac, had prepared a manuscript to describe it but passed away before finishing it. I am presently trying to finish his paper and get it published for him. This species, closely related to Cambarus thomai (a species Ray named after
me in honor of our long friendship), is found in western Ohio, Indiana and northern Kentucky adjacent to the Ohio-Indiana populations. I know little of its life history and imagine it to be similar to C. thomai. 



Blue Mountain Mudbug
Cambarus (Jugicambarus) monogalensis, is a burrowing species that lives in springs and seeps in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. This specimen was taken from the most northern extent of the range in West Virginia about a mile up hill from the Ohio River in a spring that issued forth from a small cave. I think its one of the most beautiful species here in the northern United States. They do not live in streams, and unlike most crayfish species, when you turn one loss it will walk uphill as opposed to down. They build a fairly simple burrow with one or two entrance tunnels and a large lower chamber. They apparently come out at night and forage as the lower chamber usually has moss, leaves, and other types of terrestrial vegetation stored in it. I think the blue color must make them harder to see when the are out and about. I know that owls will feed on crayfish as I have seen their body parts in owl nest and there are numerous literature reports of owls eating crayfish.The foremost expert on this species and others related to it is G. Whitney Stocker (Denison University, Ohio). He has a home page called the Appalachian Man's Home page.
 No common name
Cambarus (Jugicambarus) dubius. This is likely the worst background I have ever used for a crayfish picture but the specimen is pretty good looking. This specimen is actually a member of a large species complex that may contain up to a dozen undescribed species. Specimens from the type locality are all a pinkish red-orange and also display physical differences. The species group is found burrowing in springs and seeps on hillsides and mountain tops (similar to C. monogalensis, the Mountain Blue Crayfish) in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. The chela are rotated to a more vertical orientation, apparently an adaptation to burrowing. These crayfish are also known to drag vegetation into their burrows. There are many different color forms from green, blue, red, red-white and blue, and many
combinations there of.


The Little Brown Mudbug

Cambarus (Tubericambarus) thomai. This is a recently described species associated with the Appalachian foothills. It is found in eastern Ohio, western West Virginia and northern Kentucky adjacent to the Ohio-W.Va. populations. It burrows extensively and quite deep if need be. Burrows are complex with a lower chamber. I have frequently watched this species sit in wait at its burrow entrance waiting for prey. When a bug or fly passes the entrance they lung out waving their chelae in an effort to capture the potential meal. It also appears that they will eat any plant roots that grow into the burrow. They do not drag vegetation into their burrow. In the spring, after warm rains, they come out of their burrows and can be found walking on land in streams and swamps. I like to got out at night with a flashlight and hunt for them. By the way, I am in the process of finishing a manuscript for The Proceeding of the Biological Society of Washington naming a new crayfish species after Ray.


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