Common Name: Hiwassee Crayfish

Classification:  Nongame Fish - Crustacean




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National Range: "the upper Hiwassee River basin in Georgia and North Carolina" (Hobbs Jr. 1989); "blue ridge province; only known occurrence [in TN] is Brushy Creek, Hiwassee River tributary in Polk County, Tennessee, near state line"(Williams and Bivens 1996); "this species is endemic to the upper Hiwassee River basin inthe Blue Ridge of Georgia and North Carolina" (Clamp 1999)

NC Physiographic Region(s): southwestern mountains

River Basin(s): Hiwassee

Adult Habitat: "streams" (Hobbs Jr. 1989); "restricted to clear, swift flowing streams, under rocks,etc." (Williams and Bivens 1996); "occurs in swift streams with rocky substrates and organic detritus" (Clamp 1999)

Reproductive Season: n/a

Species associates: C. (C.) bartonii, C. (P.) brimleyorum, C. (P.) parrishi, C. (C.) sp. A.

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 of Special Concern

Identification references: Hobbs Jr. 1989, Hobbs 1991

Taxonomic Description:

body shape: robust?
coloration: strong mottling in colors of brown and tan
spines: cervical spines absent; others present
rostrum: fairly long and acuminate
areola: broad
chelae: double row of tubercles on mesial margin of palm; well-developed dorsolongitudinal ridges; long fingers; narrow fingers and chela
other characteristics: fairly large eyes
form I male gonopod: terminal elements similar in length; corneous central projection with subapical notch; mesial process bulbous and tapering distally, and bending mesially

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.