A large crayfish an a wetland

The largest crayfish (at least, Orconectes obscurus) that I’ve ever encounter was probably about 48 mm in carapace length.  This is an extremely common species at Jennings’ Woods, where much of the graduate work done in the Kershner lab is done, but it is native from the Genesee River watershed (where its type-specimen was collected) westward through northeastern Ohio, including the West Branch of the Mahoning River and Breakneck Creek (part of the Cuyahoga Riva watershed) where this big guy was found.

I measured this specimen at 51 mm CL (which is about where the ruler is measuring – from the tip of the rostrum to the end of the carapace).  I’m not quite sure, but the last record holder was caught drifting down a stream, completely legless.  It was brought back to the lab, fed using forceps, cleaned regularly with a small sponge, and named Nubs.  He lived about a month, until he began to molt, but was unable to complete the process and died.

 

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The crayfish, as I mentioned, was caught in Breakneck creek while I was assisting a Conservation Biology in the Field course a few weeks ago.  The field location is owned, but little-used, by Kent State and includes some stunning forested wetlands.

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