Cambarus .

Photos and text by Roger Thoma

The Great Plains Mudbug

This crayfish is a member of the Cambarus diogenes species complex. In the end, there may prove to be over a dozen species of crayfish presently grouped under the name C. diogenes. This is another crayfish species I collected this summer with Tom Simon and Foster Purrington while studying the Patoka River of Indiana. It burrows in wet areas near streams. Some times they are so big that the burrow is large enough for you to just stick your arm down and feel around (if you're brave enough).

One quick way to get them out is to let the crayfish grab your fingers with their chela and then pull them out while they hang on to you. It's a little bloody but very effective. Normally they hold on tight to the sides of the burrow, but when they grab your finger they let go of the burrow sides.
In North America one should always be careful when putting one's hand down a crayfish burrow as you may encounter a snake. Numerous species of snake (and other things) like to live in crayfish burrows. Some of the snakes are poisonous! See below

Important message from Webmaster Dave Downunder!!!!!

I strongly suggest novices don't use Roger's unique method. Here is Australia we also have trapdoor spiders and more than once I've had them come out of crayfish holes ( or what I thought were crayfish holes).

There is several ways to get crayfish to come to the surface.

One good method I use is to flood the burrow with bloodied water and the crays come to the surface to see what is bleeding,


in larger holes I wrap a whole lambs liver around a stick. The crays can't help themselves and grab hold of the meat and you simply pull them out on the stick clinging to the liver.

Of course both these methods are slower than Crocodile Dundee Thoma's way!

The Teays River crayfish

Cambarus (Cambarus) sciotensis

This is one of our bigger stream dwelling crayfish here in Ohio. They live in very clear, clean streams as you can tell from the clarity of the water
in this stream. I photographer this first form male in the East Fork of Queer Creek in Hocking County, Ohio this June 2nd (2002). My son Zach and his girlfriend Erin Shannon helped me catch it. As I have noted in other parts of this web site, "the bigger the rock, the bigger the crayfish". This one came from under a big rock that took Zach and I both to lift it. This is decidedly one of my favorite crayfish species.