Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852)

Common Name: Red Swamp Crayfish

Synonyms and Other Names:

Red swamp crayfish/crawfish, Louisiana crayfish/crawfish, Cambarus clarkii Girard, 1852

Drew GaddyCopyright Info

( Info

Identification: The red swamp crayfish is typically dark red, with elongate claws (chelae) and head, a triangular rostrum tapering anteriorly without a central keel, reduced or absent spines on the side of the shell (carapace) between the head and thorax, and a linear to obliterate dorsal surface between the 2 carapace plates (areola), which converge (Boets et al. 2009, GISD 2011, NatureServe 2011). The first walking leg (cheliped) bears bright red rows of bumps (tubercles) on its side (mesial) margin and palm.

In reproductively mature males, hooks are present on the third segment (from the base; the ischia) of the third and fourth pairs of walking legs, and the first swimmeret (pleopod) of ends in four projections (terminal elements), with the most anterior terminal end (cephalic process) of this sperm transfer structure rounded with a sharp angle on the outer (caudodistal) margin, which lacks “hairs” (setae) below its tip. Setae on the anterior surface of the pleopod, closest to the terminal elements, have strong angular shoulders. The right pleopod is wrapped around the side, such that it appears reduced or absent, and possesses a spur on the inner margin on its fifth joint (carpopodite) (WDFW 2003). Strong spines project from the inner face of the sixth joint (propodite); “knots” are present on the dorsal face or this joint (Boets et al. 2009).

Juveniles are not red and are difficult to distinguish from other Procambarus species (Boets et al. 2009).

Size: Adults range in length from 5.5 to 12 centimeters (or 2.2 to 4.7 inches) and may attain weights in excess of 50 grams in 3 to 5 months (GIS 2011, Hentonnen and Huner 1999).

Native Range: Gulf coastal plain from the Florida panhandle to Mexico; southern Mississippi River drainage to Illinois (Hobbs 1989, Taylor et al. 2007).

Great Lakes Nonindigenous Occurrences: Collected in a swamp in Kenai, Alaska (R. Piorkowski, Alaska Fish and Game, pers. comm.); established in San Francisco Bay, California (Ruiz et al. 2000) and collected from Sweetwater River in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge (Cohen and Carlton 1995); established in Delaware (Gherardi and Daniels 2004); reported from Hawaii (Benson and Fuller 1999, Gutierrez 2003) and Idaho (Benson and Fuller 1999, Mueller 2001); collected from areas of the Dead River near Lake Michigan and in the North Branch of the Chicago River, Illinois; relatively rare but documented tributaries of Lake Michigan in the area of the Grand Calumet River in northern Indiana, with collections from Lake Michigan in 2000 (Simon 2001); established in Chesapeake Bay and all 14 watersheds of the Coastal Plain of Maryland (Kilian et al. 2009, Ruiz et al. 2000); reported from Nevada (Benson and Fuller 1999); found on Long Island, New York; established in the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico, Yadkin-Pee Dee, and Cape Fear river basins of North Carolina (Benson and Fuller 1999, Fullerton and Watson 2001); established and slowly spreading in the Sandusky Bay, Ohio area, with the first known collection dating back to 1967 and subsequent expansion to Bay, Rice, and Riley Township waterways connecting to Muddy Creek Bay and Margaretta and Townsend Twp tributaries of Lake Erie (R. Thoma, Midwest Biodiversity Institute, pers. comm.); established in Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia (Benson and Fuller 1999, Mueller 2001); established or collected from several lakes in Washington (Mueller 2001, WDFW 2003); and established in a private subdivision pond in Germantown, Wisconsin from 2009-2016, reported as eradicated in 2016 (Behm 2009, Bunk and Van Egeren 2016); reported from the Missouri River in Nebraska, just below Gavins Point Dam in 2016 (S. Schainost, pers. comm.).

Table 1. Great Lakes region nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state/province, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Procambarus clarkii are found here.

Full list of USGS occurrences

State/ProvinceYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Michigan201320175Black-Macatawa; Clinton; Detroit; Southeastern Lake Michigan; St. Joseph
Ohio196720194Cedar-Portage; Cuyahoga; Lake Erie; Sandusky
Wisconsin200920092Milwaukee; Pike-Root

Table last updated 2/21/2020

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: This species lives in a variety of freshwater habitats, including rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, canals, seasonally flooded swamps and marshes, and ditches with mud or sand bottoms and plenty of organic debris (Huner and Barr 1991). Procambarus clarkii also frequently colonizes rice fields, irrigation channels, and reservoirs (Correia and Ferreira 1995, Gherardi et al. 1999). It exhibits considerable ecological plasticity and is tolerant of a range of salinities up to 35ppt (Bissattini et al. 2015), (2-3 ppt for reproduction), pH (5.8-10), oxygen levels (>3 ppm), temperatures (as long as water in burrows neither freezes nor exceeds 35°C), and pollution levels (Huner and Barr 1991). Although this species is known to have a preference for habitats with water temperature from 21 to 30 °C,  (Peruzza et al. 2015) demonstrated that the red swamp crayfish could adapt to atypical thermal habitat, characterized by an annual mean water temperature values of 13 °C. Studies of the red swamp crayfish invasion in Europe suggest that it tends to prefer areas of lower flow velocity and low elevation; in central and southern Europe, it has established in warm, shallow natural and agricultural wetlands while in northern Europe, it can be found in small permanent ponds free of fish predation (Cruz and Rebelo 2007, Henttonen and Huner 1999).

The red swamp crayfish is a physical ecosystem engineer, primarily constructing simple, two-crayfish burrows consisting of a single opening, which may be covered with a mud plug or chimney to reduce evaporative loss further from the water’s edge, and a tunnel widening to an enlarged terminal chamber (Correia and Ferreira 1995, Huner and Barr 1991, Jaspers and Avault 1969). In periods of drought or elevated temperatures, these burrows can extend 40-90 cm down to water table (Ingle 1997). Burrow density is typically greatest in areas with fine sediments and lowest in areas of sand, gravel, or cobble (Barbaresi et al. 2004). Where present, Myriophyllum sp., fallen logs, and other vegetation may encourage greater burrow density (Correia and Ferreira 1995). Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) has also provided habitat for this crayfish in other introduced populations (Smart et al. 2002).

Like most crayfish, the red swamp crayfish is an opportunistic omnivore, consuming plant material, animals, detritus, and sediment (Alcorlo et al. 2004; Anastácio et al. 2005; Correia 2003; Gherardi and Barbaresi 2007, 2008; Gutiérrez-Yurrita et al. 1998; Hobbs 1993; Ilheu and Bernardo 1993; Pérez-Bote 2004; Smart et al. 2002). In terms of feeding preference, a few trends have emerged from studies of native and introduced populations. Plants and/or detritus tend to be consumed in greatest frequency and volume, with plant consumption highest in summer and detritus feeding intense year round (Correia 2003, Gherardi and Barbaresi 2008). It appears that crayfish may exhibit selectivity for particular plants but not among animal prey (Gherardi and Barbaresi 2007). The animal constituents of the red swamp crayfish diet tend to be dominated by insects (particularly chironomids), other crayfish, mollusks (snails), and fish (Ilheu and Bernardo 1993, Pérez-Bote 2004). Juveniles consume more animals than adults, which exhibit an ontogenic shift in diet to plants and detritus, but cannibalism is most apparent in adults and preadults (Correia 2003, Pérez-Bote 2004). Fish is also an important staple of the adult winter diet, and males may eat fish in a higher proportion than do females. This may be attributed to large claw size in some males and potentially also due to higher male mobility during the mating season (Ilheu and Bernardo 1993, Pérez-Bote 2004). However, the nutritional benefit of carnivory may be outweighed by the cost of active predation, leading to increased herbivory or detritivory in the field (Ilheu and Bernardo 1993). Overall consumption is highest in the fall and winter (Pérez-Bote 2004).

The life cycle of the red swamp crayfish is relatively short, with an onset of sexual maturity occurring in as few as two months and a total generation time of four and a half months (Huner and Barr 1991). Breeding typically taking place in the fall, though in warmer, wetter regions, there may be a second reproductive period in the spring. This species exhibits high fecundity: a 10 cm female can produce as many as 500 eggs, while a smaller female produces around 100 eggs (GISD 2011, Huner and Barr 1991). Egg production make take as short a period as six weeks, followed by a three-week period of incubation and maternal attachment and an additional eight weeks until egg maturation (GISD 2011). Procambarus clarkii females incubating eggs or carrying young may be found year-round, which contributes greatly to the success and abundance of this species, but optimal temperatures are 21-27°C; growth is inhibited below 12°C (Ackefors 1999, GISD 2011). Recently hatched crayfish remain in the burrow with their mother as long as eight weeks and must molt twice before being self-sufficient (Hunter and Barr 1991). Due to the cannibalistic nature of conspecifics in communal burrows, adult molting often occurs in the open, even in the presence of predatory fish (Hartman and O’Neill 1999). The adult red swamp crayfish exhibits cyclic dimorphism, alternating between sexually active and inactive periods, and in the wild typically does not live longer than two to five years (GISD 2011, Huner and Barr 1991, Smart et al. 2002).

The red swamp crayfish exhibits two types of behaviors—one a wandering phase which involves short peaks of high speed of movement, the other an immobile stage during which it hides in its burrow by day and only comes out at dusk to forage. Breeding male crayfish in the wandering phase may travel as far as 17 km from their site of origin within four days (GISD 2011). Nocturnal activity in the stationary phase does not appear to be driven by predatory avoidance (many of red swamp crayfish predators are also nocturnal) or prey capture (mostly herbivorous; Gherardi et al. 2000).

Means of Introduction: Nonnative populations in the United States are likely to have resulted as a release from aquaculture or from the aquarium trade (Simon and Thoma 2006, Thoma and Jezerinac 2000; Kilian et al. 2012). This species’ striking red color has lead to commercial advertisement as freshwater “lobster” for aquariums and may have sped up the species’ advance on the west branch of the Grand Calumet River in Indiana and Illinois (Simon et al. 2005).

The red swamp crayfish is readily available though the biological supply trade and may be released following classroom or laboratory use (Larson and Olden 2008; Kilian et al. 2012). It is also popular among anglers as bait for largemouth bass (WDFW 2003). Intended disposal via the sanitary system (being flushed down toilets) is likely to be ineffective, as many P. clarkii has been seen in urban zones around waste water treatment areas, having apparently survived treatment (Indiana Biological Survey 2008).

The Sandusky Bay, OH populations likely stem from an attempted introduction to see if they could get a harvestable population established for human consumption (R. Thoma, Midwest Biodiversity Institute, pers. comm.). This species is commercially cultured in the southern U.S., particularly in Louisiana, where industry profits exceed $150 million annually and the fishery is an integral part of the state’s culture and economy (McAlain and Romaire 2011). Alternately, there is a remote chance these red swamp crayfish were introduced from infested Ohio State Fish Hatcheries during a fish stocking event (R. Thoma, Midwest Biodiversity Institute, pers. comm.).

Status: Established in coastal waters of Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.

Great Lakes Impacts: Procambarus clarkii has a moderate environmental impact in the Great Lakes.

Procambarus clarkii has the potential for a wide array of environmental impacts, including food web alteration, bioaccumulation of toxic substances, community dominance, competition with native species for food or space, modification of physical-chemical habitat properties, consumption of native plants and algae, and predation on native species (Savini et al. 2010). Red swamp crayfish has the potential to successfully colonize northern and colder habitats since it has shown to have biological plasticity in its ability to adapt to atypical thermal habitats. This species can and grow and reproduce at temperatures (mean 13°C) once thought to inhibit completion of P. clarkii's life cycle (Peruzza et al. 2015).

The red swamp crayfish has been responsible for dramatic habitat changes (e.g., through burrowing activity) and changes to ecosystem functioning in invaded systems around the world (Gherardi 2007). Procambarus clarkii is a strong competitor with native crayfish species, including the white river crayfish (P. acutus) or the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), and may exclude these species from shelters (Arrignon et al. 1999, Gherardi and Daniels 2004, Mueller 2007). Aggression exhibited by the red swamp crayfish has also been attributed to reduced breeding success among adult California newts and may extend to other amphibians (Gamradt et al. 1997).

Acting as both a shredder and a predator, P. clarkii has the potential to act as a keystone species and dominate energy flow (Pérez-Bote 2004). Red swamp crayfish juveniles can significantly reduce local macroinvertebrate diversity through predation (Correia and Anastácio 2008). Predation on snails and other grazers may lead to increased periphyton biomass relative to macrophytes. In contrast, prey preference for predatory insects promotes grazer populations and instead decreases periphyton density (Alcorlo et al. 2004). The disappearance of newts in California has also been attributed to predation by P. clarkii, particularly on eggs and larvae (Diamond 1996, Gamradt and Kats 1996). Consumption of detritus by P. clarkii can further restructure energy flow (e.g., shortened pathways to top predators, simplified food web structure) through traditional trophic levels in an invaded system (Geiger et al. 2005).

Capable of removing macrophytes from large areas with its cutting feeding behavior (Feminella and Resh 1989, Smart et al. 2002), P. clarkii causes major shifts in habitat heterogeneity and reduces habitat availability for many invertebrates, amphibians, and juvenile fishes (summarized in Alcorlo et al. 2004, Nyström 1999). Herbivory in red swamp crayfish has also been found to have a significant impact on aquatic macrophytes and periphyton (Elser et al. 1994, Lodge 1991, Matthews et al. 1993, Weber and Lodge 1990) and to change the relationships of benthic insects with plants (Hanson et al. 1990, Lodge et al. 1994). Extensive removal of macrophytes is proposed to have led to local extinction of two snails (Lymnaea peregra, L. stagnalis) and three plants (Myriophyllum alterniflorum, Utricularia australis, Ceratophyllym demersum) in Spain (Montes et al. 1993), but direct predation on the snails may have contributed to the snails’ disappearance (Alcorlo et al. 2004). Herbivorous bird populations (e.g., ducks) have also been severely impacted by the Spanish introduction of P. clarkii (Rodríguez et al. 2005). In Kenya, it has been suggested that populations of the water lily Nymphaea nouchalii var. caerulea declined in Lake Naivasha as the result of P. clarkii herbivory (Hofkin et al. 1991, Lowery and Mendes 1977).

The red swamp crayfish builds its burrows at the water’s edge, and collapse is common on soft sediment banks when burrows are abandoned (Barbaresi et al. 2004). Burrowing activity can impact the nesting ground of demersal fish (Lowery and Mendes 1977). Foraging and burrowing behavior in P. clarkii can also lead to changes in water quality and increased nutrient release from sediment, which in turn may induce localized summer cyanobacteria blooms and eutrophic conditions (Angeler et al. 2001, Duarte et al. 1990, Geiger et al. 2005, Nyström et al. 1996, Yamamoto 2010). Alternately, burrowing activity can suspend sediments and increase water turbidity, reducing light penetration and leading to diminished primary production (Anastácio and Marques 1997, Angeler et al. 2001, Rodríguez et al. 2005).

Many crayfish, including P. clarkii, transmit heavy metals among different trophic levels of the food web. Enriched levels of heavy metals or pesticides in crayfish organs or tissues are transferred to consumers (Otero et al. 2003). The red swamp crayfish has also been characterized within its invaded range as a host to high impact parasites (Mastitsky et al. 2010). It harbors numerous flatworm parasites that may be passed on to vertebrates and can carry the crayfish plague fungus (Aphanomyces astaci) as a chronic or latent infection (Huner and Barr 1991, Longshaw 2011). Procambarus clarkii has been implicated in the spread of this fungus to native crayfish in Europe following initial introduction by the signal crayfish (Barbaresi and Gherardi 2000, Mastitsky et al. 2010). North American crayfish species, however, appear to be resistant to the crayfish plague (Huner and Barr 1991). The white spot syndrome virus, which has caused mass mortalities among shrimp in Europe, can also be carried by P. clarkii (Longshaw 2011).

Procambarus clarkii has a moderate socio-economic impact in the Great Lakes.

The red swamp crayfish is classified as a pest in many countries (Hobbs et al. 1989). Procambarus clarkii has had devastating effects on international rice production, preferentially consuming seedlings following rice field flooding and planting, as well as causing water loss and bank collapse due to its burrowing activity (Anastácio et al. 2000, 2005; Correia and Ferreira 1995). In areas prone to water level fluctuation—such as around dams, levees , or irrigation systems—complex, deep burrows or numerous simple burrows are especially likely to damage these structures through bank destabilization. Where water levels are more constant (e.g., reservoirs, marshes), burrows tend to be shallow and simple (Correia and Ferreira 1995). Foraging and burrowing behavior in P. clarkii can also lead to changes in water quality and increased nutrient release from sediment, which may induce localized summer cyanobacteria blooms and eutrophic conditions (Angeler et al. 2001, Duarte et al. 1990, Geiger et al. 2005, Nyström et al. 1996, Yamamoto 2010).

Predation on fish eggs (e.g., lake trout, Mueller et al. 2006), food competition with commercial fish species, and destruction of fishery nesting and nursing grounds can negatively affect the fishing industry (summarized in Geiger et al. 2005). In Kenya, the red swamp crayfish has been implicated in the destruction of fishing nets and significant reduction in yield due to damaged fish (Lowery and Mendes 1977).

Through accumulation of heavy metals and cyanobacteria toxins (e.g., microcystin), the red swamp crayfish facilitates biomagnification of these harmful materials and their trophic transfer to humans (Gherardi and Panov 2006). In parts of the world, undercooked P. clarkii may transmit parasites to humans, including lung fluke (Paragonimus westermani) and rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) (Matthews 2004). Domestically, Louisiana populations of the red swamp crayfish have been found to harbor another lung fluke, P. kellicoti (Huner and Barr 1991).

Procambarus clarkii has a moderate beneficial effect in the Great Lakes.

While a major commercial fishery exists both domestically (native populations) and abroad (introduced populations; e.g., Ackefors 1999, Barbaresi and Gherardi 2000), a red swamp crayfish fishery has not been established in the Great Lakes. However, the red swamp crayfish is popular in the live trade market. This species’ striking red color has lead to commercial advertisement as freshwater “lobster” for aquariums (Simon et al. 2005). It is also popular among anglers as bait for largemouth bass (WDFW 2003) and is readily available though the biological supply trade (Larson and Olden 2008).

Procambarus clarkii has the potential to serve as a new food source in invaded ecosystems (Savini et al. 2010). In Europe, it has been suggested that high densities of the red swamp crayfish may lead to greater numbers of herons, egrets, and cormorants (Barbaresi and Gherardi 2000, Rodríguez et al. 2005).

The red swamp crayfish has been proposed for use as a bioindicator of heavy metals (As, Cd, Cr, Pb, Hg, Ni) and organic compounds (as found in fertilizers and pesticides, for example) due to its propensity to accumulate these environmental contaminants (Kouba et al. 2010, Richert and Sneddon 2007). Furthermore, this species may be used in biological control activities. It actively predates chironomid larvae, a rice pest (Correia and Anastácio 2008). In Kenya, P. clarkii consumes and competes with the snail vector of schistosomiasis and has thus been used there as a biological control agent (Lodge et al. 2005).

Management: Regulations

Among the Great Lakes states and provinces, Minnesota requires a permit for import of live crayfish  and prohibits the transport of crayfish between water bodies and the sale of live crayfish as bait or for use in aquaria (MNDNR 2014). Wisconsin prohibits the release of live crayfish into and waters of the states as well as the possession or use of live crayfish as bait on inland waters other than on the Mississippi River (WIDNR 2015). In Ontario, live crayfish may only be used as bait in the waters from which they were caught; they may not be transported overland, including imported for use as bait (OMNR 2012).

Note: Check federal, state, and local regulations for the most up-to-date information.


Physical, chemical, and biological management options have been proposed for the red swamp crayfish (Hyatt 2004).

Physical: While not likely to eradicate a population, unless the population is quite small and has a limited range, physical control methods (e.g., traps, fyke and seine nets, electro-fishing) provide an option for population reduction (GISD 2011). Intensive trapping campaigns have been suggested to be safer and more profitable (for fisherman) than biological or chemical treatments (Barbaresi and Gherardi 2000). However, traps tend to attract larger (often reproductive male) crayfish, while frightening off smaller individuals (Aquiloni and Gherardi 2008). As with other methods of physical control, trapping on its own is unlikely to eradicate a crayfish population and must be maintained for lasting effects for be realized (Barbaresi and Gherardi 2000, Kerby et al. 2005). Short-term trapping efforts may stimulate biological feedback responses, including shorter time to reproductive maturity and higher fecundity (GISD 2011).

Natural and artificial barriers, in combination with high flow velocities and/or steep banks, can reduce the upstream spread of red swamp crayfish (Kerby et al. 2005).

Chemical: Possible chemical control mechanisms include biocides, pesticides, general toxins, and pheromones, with only the latter being crayfish-specific (Hyatt 2004).

Water treatment with derivatives of pyrethrum appears to be more effective than spraying burrows (Gherardi et al. 2011). This insecticide breaks down rapidly in sunlight, is harmless to plants, and has a low toxicity to birds and mammals; however, it is also toxic to fish, insects, and other crustaceans (Peay et al. 2006). Other insecticides that have been effective in treatment of red swamp crayfish-infested waters include fenthion and methyl parathion (Chang and Lange 1967), but these have led to the simultaneous decline in bird populations (MacKenzie 1986).

Use of pheromone attractants to trap red swamp crayfish is currently inconclusive but may be an effective tool in early detection of new invasions in small, confined water bodies (Gherardi et al. 2011). While molt and reproduction regulating hormones (ecdysteroids) control aggression in P. clarkii¸ they are not species specific or cost-effective when applied to wild populations (Gherardi et al. 2011). Application of non-ionic surfactant is also not effective in the field (Anastácio et al. 2000).

Biological control: Biological control experiments in Italy have found that the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) will prey upon small-sized or soft crayfish, providing a potential complement to trapping in closed systems (Aquiloni et al. 2010). However, eels also prey on fish eggs, fry, amphibians, and reptiles (Geiger et al. 2005). Similarly, smallmouth bass, rock bass, largemouth bass, perch, and pike will prey on smaller crayfish (Geiger et al. 2005). In addition to direct predation, the presence of predatory fish in crayfish habitat acts to limit crayfish feeding activity (Aquiloni et al. 2010).

Integrated management: Release of males partially sterilized with 20 Gy ionizing irradiation, a process which reduces testes size and alters spermatogenesis, may contribute to population reduction, decreasing reproductive success (number of hatchlings) by 43% in a test study (Alquiloni et al. 2009). It is unlikely, however, to extirpate populations.

For more information on management of invasive crayfish in the Great Lakes region, please visit the Invasive Crayfish Collaborative.


Remarks: Michigan Department of Natural Resources discovered in July 2015 that anglers are purchasing red swamp crayfish from food markets and using them as live bait. Several dead, red swamp crayfish were found near a popular fishing site in Lake Macatawa in Ottawa County, Michigan. To respond to this discovery, Michigan DNR will set traps and seines in Lake Macatawa. 

A population of crayfish originally identified as Procambarus clarkii from the Seneca system, New York was later verifed as Procambarus acutus (11/28/2017).

References: (click for full references)

Ackefors, H. 1999. The positive effects of established crayfish introductions in Europe. In Gherardi, F. and Holdich, D.M. (eds.) Crustacean Issues 11: Crayfish in Europe as Alien Species (How to make the best of a bad situation?) A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands: 49-61.

Alcorlo, P., W. Geiger, and M. Otero. 2004. Feeding preferences and food selection of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, in habitats differing in food item diversity. Crustaceana 77(4): 435-453.

Anastácio, P.M. and J.C. Marques. 1997. Crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, effects on initial stages of rice growth in the lower Mondego River Valley (Portugal). Freshwater Crayfish 11:608-617.

Anastácio, P.M., A.F. Frias, and J.C. Marques. 2000. Impact of crayfish densities on wet seeded rice and the inefficiency of a non-ionic surfactant as an ecotechnological solution. Ecological Engineering 15: 17-25.

Anastácio, P.M., V.S. Parente, and A.M. Correia. 2005. Crayfish effects on seeds and seedlings: identification and quantification of damage. Freshwater Biology 50: 697-704.

Angeler, D.G., S. Sánchez-Carrillo, G. García, and M. Alvarez-Cobelas. 2001. The influence of Procambarus clarkii (Cambaridae, Decapoda) on water quality and sediment characteristics in a Spanish floodplain wetland. Hydrobiologia 464: 89-98.

Aquiloni, L. and F. Gherardi. 2008. Evidence of female cryptic choice in crayfish. Biology Letters 4:163-165.

Aquiloni, L., A. Becciolini, R. Berti, S. Porciani, C. Trunfio, and F. Gherardi. 2009. Managing invasive crayfish: use of X-ray sterilisation of males. Freshwater Biology. 54(7): 1510-1519.

Aquiloni, L., S. Brusconi, E. Cecchinelli, E. Tricarico, G. Mazza, A. Paglianti, and F. Gherardi. 2010. Biological control of invasive populations of crayfish: the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) as a predator of Procambarus clarkii. Biological Invasions 12: 3817-3824.

Arrignon, J.C.V., P. Gerard, A. Krier, and P.J. Laurent. 1999. The situation in Belgium, France and Luxembourg. In Gherardi, F. and Holdich, D.M. (eds.) Crustacean Issues 11: Crayfish in Europe as Alien Species (How to make the best of a bad situation?) A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands: 129-140.

Barbaresi, S. and F. Gherardi. 2000. The invasion of the alien crayfish Procambarus clarkii in Europe, with particular reference to Italy. Biological Invasions 2: 259-264.

Barbaresi, S., E. Tricarico, and F. Gherardi. 2004. Factors inducing the intense burrowing activity of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, an invasive species. Naturwissenschaften 91: 342-345.

Behm, D. 2009. Bleach set to eradicate Germantown's invasive crayfish. The Journal Sentinel 2009 (7 November). Available Accessed 14 November 2011.

Bélouard, N., E.J. Petit, and J.-M. Paillisson. 2019. Variable effects of an invasive species on the reproduction and distribution of native species in pond networks. Freshwater Biology 64(3):544-554.

Benson, A.J. and P.L. Fuller. 1999. Nonindigenous Crustaceans in the United States. Florida Integrated Science Center, USGS (U.S.Geological Survey).

Bissattini, A. M., Traversetti, L., Bellavia, G., and M. Scalici. 2015. Tolerance of increasing water salinity in the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852). Journal of Crustacean Biology 35(5):682-685.

Boets, P., K.Lock, R. Cammaerts, D. Plu, and P.L.M. Goethals. 2009. Occurrence of the invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852) in Belgium (Crustacea: Cambaridae). Belgian Journal of Zoology 139: 173-176.

Bucciarelli, G.M., D. Suh, A.D. Lamb, D. Roberts, D. Sharpton, H.B. Shaffer, R.N. Fisher, and L.B. Kats. 2018. Assessing effects of non-native crayfish on mosquito survival. Conservation Biology 33(1):122-131.

Bunk, H., and S. Van Egeren. 2016. Attempted Eradication of Ambitious Architects: Procambarus clarkii, The Red Swamp Crayfish in three SE Wisconsin Ponds – Successes and Failures. Pages 12-13 in UMISC 2016 Conference Abstracts and Biographies. Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference.

Chang, V.C. and W.H. Lange. 1967. Laboratory and field evaluation of selected pesticides for control of the red crayfish in California rice fields. Journal of Economic Entomology 60: 473-477.

Clark, W.H., and J.W. Wroten. 1978. First record of the crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, from Idaho, U.S.A. (Decapoda, Cambaridae). Crustaceana 35(3):317-319.

Cohen, A.N. and J.T. Carlton. 1995. Nonindigenous aquatic species in a United States estuary: a case study of the biological invasions of the San Francisco Bay and Delta. A report for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C. and the National Sea Grant College Program Connecticut Sea Grant. 246 pp. Available Accessed 28 October 2011.

Correia, A.M. 2003. Food choice by the introduced crayfish Procambarus clarkii. Annales Zoologici Fennici 40: 517-528.

Correia, A.M. and O. Ferreira. 1995. Burrowing behavior of the introduced red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Decapoda: Cambaridae) in Portugal. Journal of Crustacean Biology 15:248-257.

Correia, A.M. and P.M. Anastácio. 2008. Shifts in aquatic macroinvertebrate biodiversity associated with the presence and size of an alien crayfish. Ecological Research 23: 729-734.

Cronin, G., D.M. Lodge, M.E. Hay, M. Miller, A.M. Hill, T. Horvath, R.C. Bolser, N. Lindquist, and M. Wahl. 2002. Crayfish feeding preferences for freshwater macrophytes: the influence of plant structure and chemistry. Journal of Crustacean Biology 22(4):708-718.

Cruz, M.J. , S. Pascoal, M. Tejedo, and R. Rebelo. 2006. Predation by an Exotic Crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, on Natterjack Toad, Bufo calamita, Embryos: Its Role on the Exclusion of the Amphibian from its Breeding Ponds. Copeia 2006(2):274-280.

Cruz, M.J. and R. Rebelo. 2007. Colonization of freshwater habitats by an introduced crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, in Southwest Iberian Peninsula. Hydrobiologia 575: 191-201.

Diamond, J.M. 1996. A-bomb against amphibians. Nature 383: 386-387.

Duarte, C., C. Montes, S. Agustí, P. Martino, M. Bernués, and J. Kalff. 1990. Biomasa de macrófitos acuáticos en la marisma del Parque Nacional de Doñana (SW de España): importancia y factores ambientales que controlan su distribución. Limnetica 6: 1-12.

Elser, J. J., C. Junge and C. R. Goldman. 1994. Population structure and ecological effects of the crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus in Cattle Lake, California. Great Basin Naturalist 54: 162-169.

Feminella, J.W. and V.H. Resh. 1989. Submersed macrophytes and grazing crayfish: an experimental study of herbivory in a California freshwater marsh. Holarctic Ecology 12(1): 1-8.

Fullerton, A.H. and B.T. Watson. 2001. New distributional records for two nonindigenous and one native crayfish in North Carolina. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 117(1): 66-70.

Gamradt, S.C. and L.B. Kats. 1996. Effect of introduced crayfish and mosquitofish on California newts. Conservation Biology 10(4): 1155-1162.

Gamradt, S.C., L.B. Kats, and C.B. Anzalone. 1997. Aggression by non-native crayfish deters breeding in California newts. Conservation Biology 11(3): 793-796.

Geiger, W., P. Alcorlo, A. Baltanás, and C. Montes. 2005. Impact of an introduced Crustacean on the trophic webs of Mediterranean wetlands. Biological Invasions 7: 49-73.

Gherardi, F. 2007. Understanding the impact of invasive crayfish. In: Gherardi, F. (ed) Biological invaders in inland waters: profiles, distribution, and threats. Springer, Dordrecht. 507-542.

Gherardi, F. and S. Barbaresi. 2007. Feeding preferences of the invasive crayfish, Procambarus clarkii. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 385: 07-20.

Gherardi, F. and S. Barbaresi. 2008. Feeding opportunism of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, an invasive species. Freshwater Crayfish 16: 77-85.

Gherardi, F. and V. Panov. 2006. Data sheet Procambarus clarkii. DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Species inventories for Europe). Available Accessed 14 November 2011.

Gherardi, F. and W.H. Daniels. 2004. Agonism and shelter competition between invasive and indigenous crayfish species. Canadian Journal of Zoology 82: 1923-1932.

Gherardi, F., A. Raddi, S. Barbaresi, and G. Salvi. 1999. Life history patterns of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, in an irrigation ditch in Tuscany (Italy). Crustacean Issues 12: 99-108.

Gherardi, F., L. Aquiloni, J. Diéguez-Uribeondo, and E. Tricarico. 2011. Managing invasive crayfish: is there a hope? Aquatic Sciences 73: 185-200.

Gherardi, F., S. Barbaresi, and G. Salvi. 2000. Spatial and temporal patterns in the movement of Procambarus clarkii, an invasive species. Aquatic Sciences 62: 179-193.

Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). 2011. Procambarus clarkii. Available from Accessed 14 November 2011.

Gutierrez, F.A. 2003. Aliens-L., Available 21 March 2003.

Gutiérrez- Yurrita, P.J., G. Sancho, M.Á. Bravo, Á. Baltanás, C. Montes. 1998. Diet of the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii in natural ecosystems of the Donana National Park temporary fresh-water marsh. Journal of Crustacean Society 18(1):120-127.

Hanson, J.M., P.A. Chambers, and E.E. Prepas. 1990. Selective foraging by the crayfish Orconectes virilis and its impact on macroinvertebrates. Freshwater Biology 24: 69-80

Hartman, A. and D. O’Neill. 1999. Fish predators and conspecifics influence molt location choice by red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Girard). Freshwater Crayfish 12: 244-251.

Henttonen, P. and J.V. Huner. 1999. The introduction of alien species of crayfish in Europe: A historical introduction, Pp. 13-22. In: Gherardi, F., and D.M. Holdich (eds.) Crayfish in Europe as alien species. How to make the best of a bad situation? Crustacean Issues 11, A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Hobbs, H.H., III. 1993. Trophic relationships of North American freshwater crayfish and shrimps. Contributions in Biology and Geology, Vol 85. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 110 pp

Hobbs, H.H., Jr. 1989. An illustrated checklist of the American crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidae, Cambaridae, and Parastacidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 480:1-236.

Hobbs, H.H., III., J.P. Jass, and J.V. Huner. 1989. A review of global crayfish introductions with particular emphasis on two North American species (Decapoda, Cambaridae). Crustaceana 56(3): 299-316.

Hofkin, B. V., Koech, D. K., and Loker, E. S. 1991. The North American crayfish Procambarus clarkii and the biological control of schistosome-transmitting snails in Kenya: Laboratory and field investigations. Biological Control 1: 183-187.

Huner, J.V. and J.E. Barr. 1991. Red swamp crayfish, biology and exploitation (3rd ed). Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.

Hyatt, M.W. 2004. Investigation of crayfish control technology. Final report (No.1448-20181-02-J850) to Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Ilheu, M. and J. M. Bernardo.1993. Aspects of trophic ecology of red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii Girard) in Alentejo, south of Portugal. Proceedings of IV Spanish Limnological Congress: 417-423. (Granada, Spain).

Indiana Biological Survey. 2008. Nonindigenous Crayfish. Available Accessed 14 November 2011.

Ingle, R.W. 1997. Crayfishes, lobsters, and crabs of Europe: an illustrated guide to common and traded species. Springer. 296 pp.

Jaspers, E. and J.W. Avault. 1969. Environmental conditions in burrows and ponds of the red swamp crawfish, Procambarus clarkii (Girard), near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Proceedings of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fisheries Commission 23: 634-648.

Kerby, J.L., S.P.D. Riley, L.B. Kats, and P. Wilson. 2005. Barriers and flow as limiting factors in the spread of an invasive crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) in southern California streams. Biological Conservation 126: 402-409.

Kilian, J.V., R.J. Klauda, S. WIdman, M. Kashiwagi, R. Bourquin, S. Weglein, and J. Schuster. 2012. An assessment of a bait industry and angler behavior as a vector of invasive species. Biological Invasions 14(7):1469-1481

Kouba, A., M. Buric, and P. Kozák. 2010. Bioaccumulation and effects of heavy metals in crayfish: a review. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 211: 5-16.

Larson, E.R. and J.D. Olden. 2008. Do schools and golf courses represent emerging pathways for crayfish invasions? Aquatic Invasions 3: 465-468.

Lodge, D. M., M. W. Kershner, J. E. Aloi, and A. P. Covich. 1994. Effects of an omnivorous crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) on a freshwater littoral food web. Ecology 75: 1265-1281.

Lodge, D.M. 1991. Herbivory on freshwater macrophytes. Aquatic Botany 41: 195-224.

Lodge, D.M., S.K. Rosenthal, K.M. Mavuti, W. Muohi, P. Ochieng, S.S. Stevens, B.N. Mungai, and G.M. Mkoji. 2005. Louisiana crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) (Crustacea: Cambaridae) in Kenyan ponds: non-target effects of a potential biological control agent for schistosomiasis. African Journal of Aquatic Science 30(2): 119-124.

Longshaw, M. 2011. Diseases of crayfish: a review.  Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 106: 54-70.

Lovas-Kiss, A., M.I. Sanchez, V.A. Molnar, L. Valls, X. Armengol, F. Mesquita-Joanes, and A.J. Green. 2018. Crayfish invasion facilitates dispersal of plants and invertebrates by gulls. Freshwater Biology 63(4):392-404.

Lowery, R.S. and A.J. Mendes. 1977. Procambarus clarkii in Lake Naivash, Kenya, and its effects on established and potential fisheries. Aquaculture 11: 111-121.

MacKenzie, D. 1986. Crayfish pesticide decimates Spanish birds. New Scientist, 16 October 1993, p. 24.

Mastitsky, S.E., A.Y. Karatayev, L.E. Burlakova, and D.P. Molloy. 2010. Parasites of exotic species in invaded areas: does lower diversity mean lower epizootic impact? Diversity and Distributions 16: 798-803.

Matthews, M. A., J. D. Reynolds, and M. J. Keatinge. 1993. Macrophyte reduction and benthic community alteration by the crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet). Freshwater Crayfish 9: 289-295.

Matthews, S. 2004. Tropical Asia invaded: the growing danger of invasive alien species. Global Invasive Species Programme. Available Accessed 28 October 2011.

McAlain, W.R. and R.P. Romaire. 2011. Procambarus clarkii. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Rome. Accessed 4 November 2011.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR). 2014. Minnesota Statues 2014, Chapter 84D Invasive Species. Available Accessed 18 May 2015.

Montes, C., M.Á. Bravo-Utrera, Á. Baltanás, C. Duarte, and J.P. Gutiérrez-Yurrita. 1993. Bases ecológicas para la gestión integral del cangrejo de rojo de las marismas del Parque Nacional de Donãna. ICONA, Madrid, Espanã, 269 pp.

Mueller, G.A., J. Carpenter, and D. Thornbrugh. 2006. Bullfrog tadpole (Rana catesbeiana) and red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) predation on early life stages of endangered razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus). The Southwestern Naturalist 51(2): 258-261.

Mueller, K.W. 2001. First record of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852) (Decapoda, Cambaridae), from Washington State, U.S.A. Crustaceana (Leiden) 74(9): 1003-1007.

Mueller, K.W. 2007. Shelter competition between native signal crayfish and non-native red swamp crayfish in Pine Lake, Sammamish, Washington: the role of size and sex. Masters Thesis. Western Washington University.

NatureServe. 2011. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available Accessed 14 November 2011.

Nyström, P., Brönmark, C. and W. Granéli. 1996. Patterns in benthic food webs: A role for omnivorous crayfish?. Freshwater Biology 36:631-646.

Nyström, P. 1999. Ecological impact of introduced and native crayfish on freshwater communities: European perspectives. In Gherardi, F. and Holdich, D.M. (eds.) Crustacean Issues 11: Crayfish in Europe as Alien Species (How to make the best of a bad situation?) A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands: 63-85.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). 2012. Ontario Invasive Species Strategic Plan. Toronto: Queen’s printer for Ontario. 58 pp.

Otero, M., Y. Díaz, J.M. Martínez, A. Baltanás, R. Montoro, and C. Montes. 2003. Efectos del vertido minero de Aznalcóllar sobre las poblaciones de cangrejo rojo americano (Procambarus clarkii) del río Guadiamar y Entremuros. In: Corredor Verde del Guadiamar (eds) Ciencia y restauración del río Guadiamar. Resultados del programa de investigació n del Corredor Verde del Guadiamar 1998-2002, pp 126-137. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, Spain.

Peay, S., P.D. Hiley, P. Collen, and I. Martin. 2006. Biocide treatment of ponds in Scotland to eradicate signal crayfish. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 380-381:1363-1379.

Pérez-Bote, J.L. 2004. Feeding ecology of the exotic red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852) in the Guadiana River (SW Iberian Peninsula). Crustaceana 77(11): 1375-1387.

Peruzza, L., Piazza, F., Manfrin, C., Bonzi, L. C., Battistella, S., and P. G. Giulianini. 2015. Reproductive plasticity of a Procambarus clarkii population living 10°C
below its thermal optimum. Aquatic Invasions 10(2):199-208.

Richert, J.C. and J. Sneddon. 2007. Determination of inorganics and organics in crawfish. Applied Spectroscopy Reviews 43(1): 51-67.

Rodríguez, C.F., E. Bécares, and M. Fernández-Aláez. 2005. Loss of diversity and degradation of wetlands as a result of introducing exotic crayfish. Biological Invasions 7: 75-85.

Ruiz, G.M., P.W. Fofonoff, J.T. Carlton, M.J. Wonham, and A.H. Hines. 2000. Invasion of coastal marine communities in North America: Apparent patterns, processes, and biases. Annual Review of Ecological Systematics 31: 481-531.

Savini, D., A. Occhipinti-Ambrogi, A. Marchini, E. Tricarico, F. Gherardi, S. Olenin, and S. Gollasch. 2010. The top 27 animal alien species introduced into Europe for aquaculture and related activities. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 26(Suppl. 2): 1-7.

Schainost, S. - biologist, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Simon, T. P. and R. F. Thoma. 2006. Conservation of imperiled crayfish - Orconectes (Faxonius) indianensis Hay (Decapoda: Cambaridae). Journal of Crustacean Biology 26:436-440.

Simon, T.P. 2001. Checklist of the crayfish and freshwater shrimp (Decapoda) of Indiana. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science 110: 104-110.

Simon, T.P., M. Weisheit, E. Seabrook, L. Freeman, S. Johnson, L. Englum, K.W. Jorck, M. Abernathy, T.P. Simon IV. 2005. Notes on Indiana crayfish (Decapoda: Cambaridae) with comments on distribution, taxonomy, life history, and habitat. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science 114(1): 55-61.

Smart, A.C., D.M. Harper, F. Malaisse, S. Schmitz, S. Coley, A-C.G. de Beauregard. 2002. Feeding of the exotic Louisiana red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Crustacea, Decapoda), in an African tropical lake: Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Hydrobiologia 488: 129-142.

Taylor, C.A., G.A. Schuster, J.E. Cooper, R.J. DiStefano, A.G. Eversole, P. Hamr, H.H. Hobbs III, H.W. Robison, C.E. Skelton, and R.F. Thoma. 2007. A reassessment of the conservation status of crayfishes of the United States and Canada after 10+ years of increased awareness. Fisheries 32(8):372-389.

Thoma, R .E and R .E Jezerinac. 2000. Ohio Crayfish and Shrimp Atlas. Ohio Biological Survey Miscellaneous Contribution 7. 28 pp.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). 2003. Prohibited aquatic animal species: Procambarus clarkii. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Aquatic Nuisance Species Classification.

Weber, L.M. and D.M. Lodge. 1990. Periphytic food and predatory crayfish: relative roles in determining snail distribution. Oecologia 82: 33-39.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR). 2015. Wisconsin Chapter NR 40, Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control. Available  Accessed 18 May 2015.

Yamamoto, Y. 2010. Contribution of bioturbation by the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii to the recruitment of bloom-forming cyanobacteria from sediment. Journal of Limnology 69(1): 102-111.

Author: Nagy, R., A. Fusaro, W. Conard, and C. Morningstar

Contributing Agencies:

Revision Date: 1/15/2020

Citation for this information:
Nagy, R., A. Fusaro, W. Conard, and C. Morningstar, 2020, Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI,, Revision Date: 1/15/2020, Access Date: 2/27/2020

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.