Common Name: Santee Crayfish

Classification:  Nongame Fish - Crustacean




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National Range:“in the coastal plain from the Pee Dee River system in South Carolina and southern North Carolina southward to the Santee River basin in South Carolina” (Hobbs Jr. 1989)

NC Physiographic Region(s): coastal plain

River Basin(s): Lumber, Waccamaw, possibly lower Cape Fear and Northeast Cape Fear

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

Juvenile Habitat: same as adults but more associated with littoral areas

Reproductive Season: late summer, fall

Species associates: fall and spring but extended

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, large animal
  • coloration:  shades of tan, brown, and green with dark speckles or light mottling
  • spines: strong cervical, cephalic, branchiostegal, and marginal spines
  • rostrum: long; with marginal spines and long spiniform acumen
  • areola: narrow
  • chelae: not robust
  • other characteristics: n/a
  • form I male gonopod: distal ¼ of shaft straight; subapical setae arising from promiment knob like eminence at cephalic margin; setae and knob cephalic to base of cephalic process, not hiding part of cephalic process when viewed laterally

Notes:  very difficult to distinguish from P. acutus where they co-occur (distinguishable only with form I male and can be confusing even then)

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.