Orconectes limosus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Orconectes limosus
Species Authority: (Rafinesque, 1817)
Common Name(s):
English Spinycheek Crayfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-06-01
Assessor(s): Adams, S., 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.
This species has been assessed as Least Concern (LC). This is an invasive crayfish species with a very large distribution within its native North American range and within its non-native European range. It is a habitat generalist and there are no known major threats to this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in North America occurring in the Atlantic watershed in Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Québec, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia (Fetzner 2008, Hobbs 1974, Jezerinac et al. 1995, Souty-Grosset et al. 2006). This species was introduced to Europe in the 1890s where it is now widespread (Jezerinac et al. 1995, Souty-Grosset et al. 2006). This species was originally introduced into Europe to replace diminished populations of the Signal crayfish, but due to its small size that replacement failed (Black and Holdich 2007).

The Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of this species has been estimated to exceed 2 million km2.

Canada (New Brunswick, Québec); United States (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia)
Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Hungary; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Lithuania; Luxembourg; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; Poland; Russian Federation (Kaliningrad); Switzerland; United Kingdom (Great Britain)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information available for this species. However, it is known to be abundant in sites of suitable habitat (S. Adams, G. Schuster, C. Taylor, pers. comm. 2009).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits clear streams that are 10 - 100 m wide, with silt, cobble, gravel and sand substrates (Jezerinac 1995, Aiken 1965). This species has also been found in lakes (Aiken 1965). Individuals are often found in shallow depressions in pools and have rarely been captured where silt is absent from the substrate (Jezerinac 1995).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats to this species. Hybridization is known to have occurred between this species and Orconectes rusticus at a single locality in Massachusetts. However, this is not having a major impact on the global population of this species (S. Adams, G. Schuster, C. Taylor, pers. comm. 2009).

It is likely that this species is experiencing localized declines due to urbanization, alterations to the hydrological regime and water pollution (S. Adams, G. Schuster, C. Taylor, pers. comm. 2009), but these are very unlikely to be threatening the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has been given the heritage rank of G5 by NatureServe (Taylor et al. 2007, NatureServe 2009) and Currently Stable by the American Fisheries Society (Taylor et al. 2007), meaning the species is apparently secure, widespread and abundant.
This species is a carrier of the crayfish plague and poses a great threat to native crayfish species in Europe (Holdich and Black 2007).
Further research is required on the population abundance of this species and its life history.

Bibliography [top]

Aiken, D.E. 1965. Distribution and Ecology of the Three Species of Crayfish from New Hampshire. American Midland Naturalist 73: 240-244.

Black, J. and Holditch, D. 2007. The spiny-cheek crayfish, Orconectes limosus (Rafinesque, 1817) [Crustacea: Decapoda: Cambaridae], digs into the UK. Aquatic Invasions 2(1): 1-15.

Fetzner, J.W. 2008. Crayfish Taxonomy Browser. Available at: http://iz.carnegiemnh.org/crayfish/NewAstacidea/infraorder.asp?io=Astacidea. (Accessed: 11.10.08).

Hobbs, H.H., Jr. 1974. Synopsis of the family and genera of Crayfishes. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 164: 1-161.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

Jezerinac, R.F., Stocker, G.W. and Tarter, D.C. 1995. The Crayfishes (Decapoda: Cambaridae) of West Virginia. Bulletin of the Ohio Biological Survey, new series 10(1): 164-171.

NatureServe. 2009. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. Internet

Smith, D.G. 1981. Evidence for hybridization between two crayfish species (Decapoda: Cambaridae: Orconectes) with a comment on the phenomenon in cambarid crayfish. American Midland Naturalist 105(2): 405-407.

Smith, D.G. 1981. Life History Parameters of the Cryafish Orconectes limosus (RAF.) in Southern New England. Ohio Academy of Science 81(4): 169.

Souty-Grosset, C., D.M. Holdich, P.Y. Noël, J.D. Reynolds and P. Haffner (eds). 2006. Atals of Crayfish in Europe. Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.

Taylor, C.A., Schuster, G.A., Cooper, J.E., DiStefano, R.J., Eversole, A.G., Hobbs III, H.H., Robison, H.W., Skelton, C.W. and Thoma, R.F. 2007. A Reassessment of the Conservation Status of Crayfishes of the United States and Canada after 10+ Years of Increased Awareness. Fisheries, American Fisheries Society 32(8): 372-389.

Citation: Adams, S., Schuster, G.A. & Taylor, C.A. 2010. Orconectes limosus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 March 2015.
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