Orconectes incomptus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Malacostraca Decapoda Cambaridae

Scientific Name: Orconectes incomptus Hobbs & Barr, 1972
Common Name(s):
English Tennessee Cave Crayfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-06-01
Assessor(s): Adams, S., Crandall, K.A., Schuster, G.A. & Taylor, C.A.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B. & Richman, N.
Contributor(s): Livingston, F., Livingston, F., Soulsby, A.-M., Batchelor, A., Dyer, E., Whitton, F., Milligan, H.T., Smith, J., Lutz, M.L., De Silva, R., McGuinness, S., Kasthala, G., Jopling, B., Sullivan, K. & Cryer, G.

Orconectes incomptus has been assessed as Vulnerable D2. This species is only known from 5 locations, however there is no documented decline in its habitat, range or abundance at present. However, there are a range of potential threats within the vicinity which may rapidly extirpate it from current localities. Monitoring of the localities is urgently required to determine what fraction of the population is at risk of future extirpation.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species was first found in Cherry Cave in Jackson County, Tennessee, USA (Hobbs and Barr 1972). It is known from approx 25 localities within three counties in Tennessee; one cave in  Putnam County, one cave in Smith County, and 10 caves within Jackson County, on both sides of the Cumberland river, and is considered to have a severely fragmented distribution (Buhay and Crandall 2008). This species has a distribution of approximately less than 2,700 km2.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Tennessee)
Additional data:
Number of Locations:5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The rarity of collections by Thomas Bar, held in USNM is likely to be a true reflection of the relative sparseness of the species (G. Schuster pers. comm. 2009). Very few individuals were encountered in surveys conducted by Buhay (S. Adams, G. Schuster, C. Taylor, pers. comm. 2009).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is restricted to caves (Buhay and Crandall 2008).  From what is known, this is a relatively specialized habitat type and there are few available flowing subterranean streams available to this species (S. Adams, G. Schuster and C. Taylor, pers. comm. 2009).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The restricted cave environment, such as that occupied by this species, presents a number of potential threats. Caves are often subject to surface run-off and can easily bring in contaminants such as sewage or faecal contamination, pesticides or herbicides, and hazardous materials via accidental spills or deliberate dumping such as road salting (Lewis 2001). Sedimentation resulting in habitat alteration is a common threat caused by construction, farming, logging, and other development that disturbs the groundcover. It can block recharge sites in caves and alter flow velocity and volume (Lewis 2001). Flooding can be a serious threat to cave dwelling species as it changes stream flow. Stream back-flowing is another source of contamination introduction into cave habitats, as is local exploration for oil, water or gas, which may encounter cave passages (Lewis 2001). However at the present time, it is noted there is no documented decline in this species as a result of threats.

A recent study by Buhay and Crandall (2005) showed this species exhibited little difference between historical and current genetic diversity estimates, although there is inferred decline in the quality of cave habitat (Lewis 2001, Buhay and Crandall 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

The American Fisheries Society assessed this species as 'threatened' (Taylor et al. 2007), and it has been given a Global Heritage Status Rank of G2 by NatureServe (Taylor et al. 2007, NatureServe 2009)

Monitoring of the remnant subpopulations of this species is needed to assess the likelihood of becoming threatened in the near future.

Citation: Adams, S., Crandall, K.A., Schuster, G.A. & Taylor, C.A. 2010. Orconectes incomptus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T15425A4583029. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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