Species Information

Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)
USGS
Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)
USGS
Rusty crayfish
Orconectes rusticus

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Similar Species

Native crayfish


Characteristics
  • Brown body up to 4 in (10.2 cm) long
  • Dark, rusty spots on each side of carapace
  • Large, black-tipped claws

Habitat
  • Lakes, ponds, streams
  • Clay, silt, sand, gravel, or rock bottom areas
  • Prefer areas with rocks, logs, or other debris as cover
  • Can live in both fast- and slow-moving areas of streams

Known Distribution in the Northeast
  • Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont
  • Native range: Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan

Impacts
  • Severely reduce cover of aquatic plants, eliminating habitat for invertebrates, food for fish and ducks, shelter for young fish, nesting substrate for fish, and erosion control
  • Reduce native crayfish populations by competing for food and daytime hiding locations