Ozark Crayfish

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

This crayfish is light brown to reddish-brown with numerous black specks on the pincers and often on the abdomen as well. The pincers are broad and powerful. Common, superficially similar species within the range of this crayfish are the golden crayfish and the ringed crayfish. Both of these species lack conspicuous blackish specks on the pinchers and abdomen, and the ringed crayfish has prominent brown or black rings on the fingers near their tips.

Adult length: about 1 to 3 1/2 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Invariably found in streams, usually over silt-free, rocky substrates, in cavities beneath rocks and boulders or along the margins of dense beds of water willow (Justicia species) adjacent to swift riffles and runs. It has been reported from moist burrows under deeply seated rocks in dry stream beds. This species excavates cavities under rocks.
Distribution in Missouri: 
The Ozark crayfish occurs widely on the southern Ozarks, from Roaring River and Flat Creek in Barry County eastward to the Little Black River in Ripley County. It seems to be absent from the North Fork River and Bryant Creek.
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