Irons Fork burrowing crayfish (Procambarus reimeri)
HOME TO RARE BURROWING CRAYFISH BY DAV ID NIL L E S
petitioned to be listed under the United
GRADUATE STUDENT CODY RHODEN COMPLETED A THESIS
States Endangered Species Act.
AS PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
A CRASH COURSE ON CRAYFISH
A MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NATURAL RESOURCES AND
Approximately two-thirds of the 500-
N 2016, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES. THIS ARTICLE IS WRITTEN ON THE BASIS OF RHODEN’S RESEARCH AND FINDINGS. We see them in the right-of-way as we drive along Arkansas’ highways. Roadside
ditches, built to collect and drain rain water run-off from our driving surfaces. We usually don’t think too much about them, but they serve a purpose in addition to drainage, as
Cody Rhoden reveals in his studies. Those roadside ditches provide habitat for something we might not think too much about… crayfish. You may know them as crawfish, mudbugs or ditch daddies among the many other colloquial names.
In the Ouachita Mountain Ecoregion of west central Arkansas, the AHTD’s roadside
plus species of crayfish in the world live in North America, with the highest diversity occurring in the southeastern United
States. Arkansas alone is home to over 60 species, fifteen of which are only in
Arkansas with two cave dwelling species in the Ozarks with federal protection. No other state west of the Mississippi River
has as many species as Arkansas, making this State, once again, truly unique.
There are three basic types of crayfish,
ditches serve as preferred habitat for two *endemic burrowing crayfish, the Ouachita
based on their lifestyle. First, there are
endemic burrowing crayfish. For this story, we focus on the two named above. Both of these
in streams or ponds. Next, we have ones
burrowing crayfish (Fallicambarus harpi) and the Irons Fork burrowing crayfish
(Procambarus reimeri). The Ouachita Mountains are home to a total of six species of
species are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need by the State and were recently
stream dwelling crayfish that we are
most familiar with, which live their lives
known as “secondary burrowers,” which
*Endemic – a species being unique to a defined geographic location (i.e. found nowhere else on earth).
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Published on Jun 14, 2017