, Volume 595, Issue 1, pp 295–301 | Cite as

Global diversity of crayfish (Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae––Decapoda) in freshwater

  • Keith A. CrandallEmail author
  • Jennifer E. Buhay


The freshwater crayfishes are distributed across all but the Indian and Antarctic continents with centers of diversity in the southeastern Appalachian Mountains in the Northern Hemisphere and in south–east Australia in the Southern Hemisphere. There are currently over 640 described species of freshwater crayfishes with an average of 5–10 species still being described each year. Freshwater crayfishes can serve as keystone species in aquatic habitats, but a few species are also significantly invasive and can cause impressive damage to the fragile freshwater habitat. Crayfishes inhabit caves, burrows, streams, lakes and strong burrowers can even be found in terrestrial habitats where they have burrowed to the water table or where rainfall is sufficiently abundant to provide the needed moisture. The freshwater crayfishes, like the habitats in which they are encountered, are generally endangered to some degree and conservation efforts would do well to focus on them as key elements of the freshwater ecosystem.


Crayfish Biodiversity Phylogeny Conservation 



We thank Estelle Balian and Koen Martens for their invitation to participate in this exciting project and for their helpful comments on our article. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments to improve the article. Our work was supported by NSF grant EF-0531762.


  1. Buhay, J. E. & K. A. Crandall, 2005. Subterranean phylogeography of freshwater crayfishes shows extensive gene flow and surprisingly large population sizes. Molecular Ecology 14: 4259–4273.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Crandall, K. A., D. J. Harris & J. W. Fetzner, 2000. The monophyletic origin of freshwater crayfishes estimated from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 267: 1679–1686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Crandall, K. A. & A. R. Templeton, 1999. The zoogeography and centers of origin of the crayfish subgenus Procericambarus (Decapoda: Cambaridae). Evolution 53: 123–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fetzner, J. W. Jr. & K. A. Crandall, 2003. Linear habitats and the nested clade analysis: An empirical evaluation of geographic vs. river distances using an Ozark crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae). Evolution 57: 2101–2118.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Hasiotis, S. T. & C. E. Mitchell, 1993. A comparison of crayfish burrow morphologies: Triassic and Holocene fossil, paleo- and neo-ichnological evidence, and the identification of their burrowing signatures. Ichnos 2: 291–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hobbs, H. H. Jr., 1988. Crayfish distribution, adaptive radiation and evolution. In Holdich, D. M. & R. S. Lowery (eds), Freshwater Crayfish: Biology, Management and Exploitation. Timber Press, Portland, OR: 52–82.Google Scholar
  7. Hobbs, H. H. Jr., 1989. An illustrated checklist of the American Crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 480: 1–236.Google Scholar
  8. Hobbs, H. H. Jr. & T. C. Barr, Jr., 1972. Origins and affinities of the troglobitic crayfishes of North America (Decapoda: Astacidae). II. Genus Orconectes. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 105: 1–84.Google Scholar
  9. Horwitz, P., 1994. Distribution and conservation status of the Tasmanian giant freshwater lobster Astacopsis gouldi (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Biological Conservation 69: 199–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  11. Jones, J. P. G., F. B. Andriahajaina, N. J. Hockley, A. Balmford & O. R. Ravoahangimalala, 2005. A multidisciplinary approach to assessing the sustainability of freshwater crayfish harvesting in Madagascar. Conservation Biology 19: 1863–1871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ponniah, M. & J. Hughes, 2004. The evolution of Queensland spiny mountain crayfish of the genus Euastacus: I. Testing vicariance and dispersal with interspecific mtDNA. Evolution 58: 1073–1085.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Sampson, S. D., L. M. Witmer, C. A. Forster, D. W. Krause, P. M. O’Connor, P. Dodson & F. Ravoavy, 1998. Predatory dinosaur remains from Madagascar: Implications for the Cretaceous Biogeography of Gondwana. Science 280: 1048–1051.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Scholtz, G., A. Braband, L. Tolley, A. Reimann, B. Mittmann, C. Lukhaup, F. Steuerwald & G. Vogt, 2003. Ecology: Parthenogenesis in an outsider crayfish. Nature 421: 806.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Scholtz, G. & S. Richter, 1995. Phylogenetic systematics of the reptantian Decapoda (Crustacea, Malacostraca). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 113: 289–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Schull, H. C., M. Perez-Losada, D. Blair, K. Sewell, E. A. Sinclair, S. Lawler, M. Ponniah & K. A. Crandall, 2005. Phylogeny and biogeography of the freshwater crayfish Euastacus (Decapoda: Parastacidae) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution:accepted.Google Scholar
  17. Sinclair, E. A., J. W. Fetzner Jr., J. Buhay & K. A. Crandall, 2004. Proposal to complete a phylogenetic taxonomy and systematic revision for freshwater crayfish (Astacida). Freshwater Crayfish 14: 1–9.Google Scholar
  18. Taylor, C. A., M. L. Warren Jr., J. F. Fitzpatrick Jr., H. H. Hobbs III, R. F. Jezerinac, W. L. Pflieger & H. W. Robison, 1996. Conservation status of crayfishes of the United States and Canada. Fisheries 21: 25–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Monte L. Bean Life Science MuseumBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

Personalised recommendations