Common Name: Pamlico Crayfish

Classification:  Nongame Fish - Crustacean




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National Range: “Neuse and Pamlico river basins in the coastal plain of North Carolina” (Hobbs Jr. 1989)

NC Physiographic Region(s): northeastern coastal plain

River Basin(s): Neuse, Tar-Pamlico

Adult Habitat: “lentic and sluggish lotic situations” (Hobbs Jr. 1989); roadside ditches, ponds; “ditches with very sluggish tonil flow and sandy mud bottoms” (NHP ICAS 1999)

Reproductive Season: spring, early fall

Species associates: n/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: Cooper 1998, Hobbs Jr. 1989, Hobbs 1991

Taxonomic Description:

  • body shape: cylindrical; fairly small species
  • coloration:  light brown or tan with highlights in pastels (greens, pinks, salmon) and often speckled with dark spots
  • spines: branchiostegal spine present; others lacking
  • rostrum: short, blunt, fairly flat; without marginal spines (usually – but can be present in juveniles)
  • areola: fairly wide
  • chelae: having strong dorsolongitudinal ridges; not robust but fairly large for this genus
  • other characteristics: n/a
  • form I male gonopod: tip of gonopods angled nearly 90 degrees from main shaft (terminal elements directed caudodistally); cephalic process broad; cephalic process lateral to central projection and hiding part of its base; caudal process flared or truncate; distal ¼ of mesial process bent strongly mesially (points straight but s-shaped)

Notes:  North Carolina endemic; part of the planirostris group

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.