Common Name: Waccamaw Crayfish

Classification:  Special Concern




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National Range: North Carolina (and Horry Co., South Carolina) endemic

NC Physiographic Region(s): lower coastal plain

River Basin(s): Lumber (Fullerton and Watson 2001), Waccamaw

Adult Habitat: “clear, sand-bottomed streams flowing through swampy areas” (NHP ICAS 1999– for P. lepidodactylus); slow-moving lotic or lentic waters; swifter areas in swampy streams, associated with aquatic vegetation

Reproductive Season: spring and fall

Species associates: P. acutus, P. ancylus, and P. blandingii

Conservation status:  state-listed as Special Concern in North Carolina (J.E. Cooper in Clamp 1999)

Identification references: Cooper 1998b; also see description by J.E. Cooper in Clamp (1999)

Taxonomic Description:

  • body shape: cylindrical
  • coloration:  shades of tan, brown, or gray; strong mottling on carapace; saddle pattern; dark tubercles on chelae
  • spines: all spines (except hepatic) strong; hepatic region bearing weak tubercles
  • rostrum: spiculiform; long acumen (approx. 45% of acumen); parallel margins; strong marginal spines
  • areola: wide, with approx. 7-8 punctations across narrowest part
  • chelae: mesial margin with row of subconical (serrate) tubercles
  • other characteristics: granulate carapace dorsal and lateral to cephalic groove
  • form I male gonopod: asymmetrical pleopods; distal ¼ only slightly caudally directed; small cephalic convexity; almost distally directed cephalic process, the base of which forms hood around cephalic base of central projection; central projection slightly longer than cephalic process; caudodistally directed central projection; long mesial process, caudodistally directed at about 45 degrees to shaft of gonopod; prominent, distally directed caudal knob; large adventitious process – in mesial aspect obscures part of proximomesial bases of central projection and caudal process; small, tooth like caudal process

Notes:  previously thought to be P. lepidodactylus, which occurs in South Carolina

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.