Common Name: Carolina Foothills Crayfish

Classification:  Nongame Fish - Crustacean



* To help keep this map accurate and current, please send any distribution information (additions, deletions) to the webmaster

National Range: Known only from North Carolina in the upper Broad, Catawba, and Yadkin-Pee Dee river basins in” (Cooper 2006)

NC Physiographic Region(s): Blue Ridge Foothills and Upper Piedmont Plateau

River Basin(s): Broad, Catawba, Yadkin-Pee Dee

Adult Habitat: Adults were collected from streams 3-4m wide with substrata generally dominated by sand, beneath undercut banks, and in leaf packs and root wads. (Simmons and Fraley 2008)

Reproductive Season: Form I males have been found in April, October, and November.

Species associates: C. (C.) lenati, C. (P.) spicatus, C. (H.) longulus, C. (J.) asperimanus,C. (P.) sp., C. sp. C.

Conservation status: not protected

Identification references: Cooper 2006

Taxonomic Description:

  • body shape: moderately depressed dorsoventrally
  • coloration: tan with orangish overtones;thoracic carapace with dark reddish-brown saddle; abdomen with pair of dark dorsolateral stripes; cephalic section dark with brown blotches
  • spines: branchiostegal spine strong to moderate; single strong cervical spine, and several small tubercles on side of carapace; cephalic spine or tubercle present
  • rostrum: acuminate, often caret shaped; margins narrow,strongly-moderately converging to base of acumen; floor of rostrum is generally plane
  • areola: crowded with punctuations, usually 9-11 across narrowest part
    chelae: palm inflated; mesial margin of palm with double row of strong tubercles, and often others; moderate dorsolateral impression
  • other characteristics: large eye; suborbital angle obtuse or obsolete; thoracic section very punctuate dorsally; epistome with slightly curved zygoma wider than space between renal apertures
  • form I male gonopod: central projection directed caudally, curved slightly over90° to plane of shaft with moderate subapical notch, tip extending as far as tip of mesial process; mesial process basally inflated, tapered, tip directed caudally

Notes: C. johniis a newer species to emerge from an ongoing analysis of a complex that for many years was treated as a cosmopolitan species known as Cambarus (Puncticambarus) acuminatus

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:

Cooper, J.E. 2006. A new species of crayfish of the genus Cambarus Erichson, 1846 (Decapoda:Cambaridae) from the eastern Blue Ridge foothills and western Piedmont Plateau of North Carolina. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.119(1):67-80.



Fig. 1. Cambarus johni. All fromholotypic male, form I (NCSM 24035), except B, C from morphotypic male, form II (NCSM24034), and J, fromallotypic female (NCSM 7544): A, lateral aspect of carapace; B, E, mesial aspect of gonopod (first pleopod);C, F, lateral aspect of gonopod; D, dorsal aspect of carapace; G, caudal aspect of in situ gonopods; H,epistome and renal apertures; I, coxa of right fourth pereopod; J, annulus ventralis and postannularsclerite; K, antennal scale; L, dorsal aspect of distal podomeres of right cheliped. Scaleline 5 2 mm









        Credit NCWRC for all photos.