North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Procambarus (Ortmannicus) ancylus   Hobbs 1958

Common Name: Edisto Crayfish

Classification:  Nongame Fish - Crustacean



Additional Information


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National Range: “the coastal plain from the Cape Fear River basin in North Carolina southward to the Edisto and Ashepoo basins in Colleton County, South Carolina” (Hobbs Jr. 1989)

NC Physiographic Region(s): southern coastal plain

River Basin(s): lower Cape Fear (absent from Northeast Cape Fear), Lumber, Waccamaw

Adult Habitat: “lentic and lotic situations and burrows” (Hobbs Jr. 1989); slow, slack, or stagnant areas (like pools) in piedmont streams; associated with vegetation or woody debris in swamps; ditches or lakes

Reproductive Season: n/a

Species associates: P. acutus, P. blandingii, P. braswelli, possibly C. latimanus

Conservation status: placed on North Carolina Watch List (W.F. Adams and J.E. Cooper in Clamp 1999); considered by Taylor et al. (1996) to be Currently Stable throughout its range

Identification references: Cooper 1998, Hobbs Jr. 1989, Hobbs 1991

Taxonomic Description:

  • body shape: cylindrical, adult size is fairly small
  • coloration: reddish-brown or chocolate with narrow red-orange striped down dorsal cephalic carapace; may be mottling on carapace
  • spines: strong cervical, cephalic, branchiostegal, and with or without marginal spines
  • rostrum: fairly short with short acumen; with or without marginal spines
  • areola: narrow
  • chelae: not robust
  • other characteristics: telson usually with 3 or more spines on each side; interrupted cervical groove
  • form I male gonopod: gonopods very assymetrical; cephalic and mesial processes sub-spiculiform; mesial process long and curved laterally around caudal side of appendage (mesially), perpendicular to main shaft

Notes:  apparently two forms exist: (1) adults living in burrows or transient lentic habitats, having a blunt or rounded rostrum and lacking marginal, cephalic, and cervical spines, and (2) adults living in loticor permanent lentic habitats, having a spiniform acumen, and marginal, cephalic, and cervical spines; juveniles apparently are all spiniform; the aspinose form has apparently never been collected in North Carolina (W.F. Adams and J.E. Cooper in Clamp 1999)

Crayfish Regulations (PDF)

According to NC General Statue and NCWRC Regulation, it is unlawful to stock any fish (including shellfish and crustaceans) into public waters without a WRC permit.  It is also unlawful to transport, purchase, possess, or sell any live individuals of virile crayfish (Orconectes (Gremicambarus) virilis), rusty crayfish (Orconectes (Procericambarus) rusticus), Australian “red claw” crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) or other species of “giant” crayfish species.

Illustrations are reproduced with the permission of the Smithsonian Institution Press. We are grateful to them for allowing us to provide this useful information with the other materials provided herein. We also wish to recognize the tremendous contribution to crayfish biology by the author/artist, the late Horton H. Hobbs Jr.

The following illustration is reproduced from:
Hobbs Jr., H. H. 1989. An illustrated checklist of the American crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae). Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, Number 480:1-236.

        Credit NCWRC for all photos.