Long-Pincered Crayfish

Orconectes longidigitus
Cambaridae (freshwater crayfish) in the order Decapoda (shrimp, crabs, and lobsters)

This large, colorful crayfish is characterized by very long, slender, blue-green pincers that are studded with prominent yellowish knobs. The carapace and abdomen are olive-tan trimmed with bright red. This is the largest crayfish in Missouri. The long, blue-green pincers and large size distinguish this crayfish from other species within its range. The superficially similar spothanded crayfish has a conspicuous spot on each pincer at the base of the movable finger.

Adult length: 6 inches or more (mature at about 3 1/2 inches).
Habitat and conservation: 
An inhabitant of medium-sized to large, clear Ozark streams with permanent, strong flow and predominantly silt-free substrates. The favored habitat is moderately deep pools along bluffs where rock slabs and large rubble provide crevices for hiding during the daylight hours. At dusk it emerges to forage over the stream bottom.
This species is omnivorous and does not hesitate to capture and consume other crayfish if the opportunity arises.
Distribution in Missouri: 
The long-pincered crayfish occurs only in the White River basin of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Substantial populations of this species also occur in Table Rock Lake.
Human connections: 
This species is captured for human consumption in Table Rock Lake. Because of its rapid growth in ponds and large size, the long-pincered crayfish may be of potential value in aquaculture.
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