Crayfish are crustaceans, related to crabs and shrimps. They look like miniature lobsters, and this variety grows to about 36-48 mm in length. This interesting crayfish’s Latin name originated from a Greek philosopher, Diogenes, who is said to have lived outside in a round tub, in order to demonstrate poverty as a virtue.
The devil crayfish breathes through gills located under its body and lives in burrows with a cone- shaped mud chimney at the entrance. Burrows can be up to three feet in length to reach water.
Crayfish are scavengers and feed approximately 60% of the time on living and decaying aquatic vegetation. Forty percent of their diet includes aquatic worms, insects, snails, and dead animal matter.
While crayfish are primarily found in freshwater habitats, the devil crayfish in Maryland can also be located in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties. It is found in the Chesapeake Bay, Patapsco River, Patuxent River and Wicomico River drainages.
About half of the native crayfish species in North America are
in need of conservation. Threats include habitat degradation and
competition from introduced crayfish species such as the rusty
crayfish, virile crayfish, white river crayfish and red swamp
Photo of Devil Crayfish
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