Common Name: Sickle Crayfish

Classification:  Nongame Fish - Crustacean




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National Range:“piedmont province from Orange County, North Carolina to Richland County,South Carolina” (Hobbs Jr. 1989); “in the piedmont province from the Cape Fear River drainage in North Carolina southward to the Santee River basin…” (Bouchard 1978)

NC Physiographic Region(s): piedmont plateau

River Basin(s): Broad, Cape Fear, Catawba, Neuse, Tar-Pamlico, Yadkin-Pee Dee

Adult Habitat: Burrows in low lying areas with sandy clay soils, commonly located on the margins of small first order streams and seeps, but also found up to 50 meters from open water in suburban mowed lawns to wooded areas (Simmons and Fraley 2008).

Reproductive Season: summer (?)

Species associates: many, including C. catagius

Conservation status: not protected

Identification references: Cooper 1999, Hobbs Jr. 1989, Hobbs Jr. 1991

Taxonomic Description:

  • body shape: caudal section of carapace vaulted
  • coloration:  Brownish-green to bluish-green
  • spines: lacking
  • rostrum: converging margins; broad and squarish; concave or scooped; with pinch to short acumen
  • areola: very narrow but not linear
  • chelae: robust and wide; double row of strong tubercles on mesial margin of palm and movable dactyl; large tubercles on inside edges of fingers; fairly strong dorsolongitudinal ridges on fingers; fingers with some gap and lacking setae between fingers
  • other characteristics: suborbital angle not obtuse (rounded acute)
  • form I male gonopod: corneous central projection very long and thin (longer than mesial process), and curved in a broad arc (sickle-shaped)

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.