Rusty Crayfish – NOT YET IN REGION

Photo by Minnesota Sea Grant

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Common Name: Rusty crayfish
Scientific Name: Orconectes rusticus
Origin: Native to the entire Ohio River Basin (includes parts of Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois)


Rusty crayfish can be identified by their robust claws, and by dark rusty spots on each side of their carapace. The spots are situated as though the crayfish was picked up by someone with red paint on their forefinger and thumb.


Rusty crayfish inhabit lakes, ponds and streams. They prefer areas that offer rocks, logs or other debris as cover.


Rusty crayfish displace native crayfish, reduce the amount and kinds of aquatic plants, decrease the density and variety of invertebrates and reduce some fish populations.

NYS Threat Ranking Assessment Score = High, 78


Intensive harvesting can be used to reduce adult populations and minimize some impacts. Restoring predators like bass and sunfish populations may also aid in managing their population. The best method is to prevent their introduction by educating anglers, crayfish trappers, bait dealers and teachers about the threats posed by rusty crayfish.