Crayfish, also known as crawdads and crawfish, live in freshwater habitats such as streams, rivers, swamps, and ponds. There are over 500 species worldwide and about 150 species in North America. Crayfish are not native to Arizona. Originally released into reservoirs and large bodies of water as a food source for sport fish by people unaware of the devastating consequences, crayfish have invaded previously pristine waters negatively impacting native fish and aquatic ecosystems. This primarily nocturnal, armor-covered crustacean has few natural predators, is omnivorous, and competes for resources with fish, frogs, insects, and turtles. The crayfish propels itself backward through the water by using its tail composed of a central section called a telson and uropods on each side. It is able to walk on land and in the water by using its 4 pairs of walking legs. Each leg has an attached gill that occupies the bronchial chamber. The crayfish senses its world with its eyes, two pairs of antennae, and pincers called chelipeds. Crayfish have the ability to regenerate lost limbs. They molt as they grow, and often eat the old shell.
Did You Know?
When you hear the loud, steady humming of cicadas in the summertime it is actually male group singing, or serenading of female cicadas. Male cicadas make the sharp sound with plate-like organs on the thorax to attract a mate. They can get very loud at Montezuma Castle National Monument.