Common Name: Grandfather Mountain Crayfish

Classification:  Nongame Fish - Crustacean



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National Range: Known only from NC in the Linville River, where it occurs upstream and downstream of Linville Falls, and upper Watauga River systems (Thoma 2012)

NC Physiographic Region(s): Blue Ridge Mountains

River Basin(s): Catawba, Watauga

Adult Habitat: Streams with moderate gradient, with cobble, gravel, and boulder substrate, often with aquatic mosses, lacking excessive fine particle deposits or expanses of bedrock (Thoma 2012)

Reproductive Season: early spring and late fall

Species associates: C. asperimanus, C. robustus, C. sp. C. (acuminatus complex), O. virilis

Conservation status: Not protected

Identification references: Thoma 2005

Taxonomic Description:

  • body shape: dorsally compressed
  • coloration: body and telson brown; abdomen, legs, and chelae dark lime green to brown; tubercles on chelae lighter in color, from orange to tan; rostral margins orange.
  • spines:  lacking spines; branchiostegal tubercles and cervical tubercles may be present
  • rostrum: rostral margins strongly thickened, margins normally concave, lacking marginal spines or tubercles; lacking median carina; floor shallowly excavated; acumen upturned at tip.
  • areola: wide, bearing approx. 3-6 punctations across narrowest part 
  • chelae: smooth; normally possessing 2 rows of tubercles on mesial margin of palm, second row of tubercles are typically reduced; no tufts of setae at base of propodus; moderately developed dorsolongitudinal ridges;gape between fingers
  • other characteristics: suborbital angle acute; postorbital ridges weak
  • form I male gonopod: terminal elements consisting of a tapering, central projection with a subapical notch; length equal to conically shaped mesial process; central projection curved caudally at 90°; mesial process directed caudally at angle of  90°


Notes:   most similar to C. sciotensis of the New River basin and C. bartonii.

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.

The following illustration is reproduced from:

Thoma, R.F. 2005.Cambarus (Cambarus) eeseeohensis (Decapoda: Cambaridae), a new species of crayfish from the Linville River of North Carolina and its bearing on understanding the evolution of the subgenus Cambarus. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 118(4): 794-802.




Fig. 1.  Cambarus eeseeohensis. A, B, F, D, G, H, I, L, & M from holotype male, form I (OSUMC5913); C, E, J, & N from mophotype male form II (OSUMC 5915); and K fromallotype female (OSUMC 5914), A, E, F, mesial aspect of gonopod; G, epistome; H, basal podomeres of right second thru fifth pereopods; I, antennal scale; J, dorsal aspect of cephalic area of carapace; K, annulus ventralis;L, dorsal aspect of carapace; M, N, dorsal aspect of distal podomeres of cheliped.


























        Credit NCWRC for all photos.