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Procambarus clarkii
Procambarus clarkii.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Cambaridae
Genus: Procambarus
Subgenus: Scapulicambarus
Species: P. clarkii
Binomial name
Procambarus clarkii
(Girard, 1852) [2]

Procambarus clarkii is a freshwater crayfish species, native to the Southeastern United States, but found also on other continents, where it is often an invasive pest. It is known variously as the red swamp crawfish, red swamp crayfish, Louisiana crawfish, Louisiana crayfish or mudbug.[3]

Range and range expansion[edit]

The native range of P. clarkii is along the Gulf Coast from northern Mexico to the Florida panhandle, as well as inland, to southern Illinois and Ohio.[1] It has also been introduced, sometimes deliberately, outside its natural range to countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and elsewhere in the Americas. In northern Europe, the populations are self maintaining but not expanding, while in southern Europe, P. clarkii is multiplying and actively colonising new territory, at the expense of the native crayfish, Astacus astacus and Austropotamobius spp. Individuals are reported to be able to cross many miles of relatively dry ground, especially in wet seasons, although the aquarium trade and anglers may have hastened the spread in some areas (it is believed that anglers using P. clarkii as bait introduced it to the American state of Washington). Attempts have also been made to use P. clarkii as a biological control organism, to reduce levels of the snails involved in the life cycle of schistosomiasis, leading to the dispersal of P. clarkii in, for instance, Kenya.


P. clarkii, dorsal view

P. clarkii is most commonly found in warm fresh water, such as slowly flowing rivers, marshes, reservoirs, irrigation systems and rice paddies. It is considered to be the most ecologically plastic species in the order Decapoda, and is able to grow quickly even in only seasonally present water, being able to tolerate dry spells of up to four months. P. clarkii grows quickly, and is capable of reaching weights in excess of 50 g (1.8 oz), and sizes of 5.5–12 cm (2.2–4.7 in) long.[4] It is also able to tolerate slightly saline water, which is unusual for a crayfish. Additionally, P. clarkii are physiologically capable of tolerating relatively low dissolved oxygen concentrations.[5] The average lifetime of Procambarus clarkii is five years. Some individuals are known to have reached ages (in nature) of over six years.

The burrowing activities of P. clarkii can lead to damage to water courses and to crops, particularly rice, and its feeding can disrupt native ecosystems. It may out-compete the native crayfish species, and is a vector for the crayfish plague fungus Aphanomyces astaci, for crayfish virus vibriosis, and a number of worms parasitic on vertebrates.

Economic importance[edit]

Harvests of P. clarkii account for a large majority of the crayfish produced in the United States and elsewhere. Crayfish farming began in Louisiana in the 18th century, taking place in rice fields in a concurrent or alternate culture system. The concurrent culture of rice and crayfish makes good use of land, resources, equipment, and infrastructure already being used for rice production. However, crawfish production has decreased in recent years due to an increase of imports from China, which is now the world's leading producer of crawfish and is also using a rice-based system.[6] A number of species of crustaceans were introduced to China to create markets for aquaculture and because they are better adapted to growing in a rice field than native fish species. Rice-fish farming originated in China and is once again growing as the yields from Green Revolution practices used to grow rice are no longer increasing, and resources such as land and water are becoming more limited.[7]

P. clarkii has also been introduced elsewhere for cultivation, such as Spain, where its success is attributable to its ability to colonise disturbed habitats that would be unsuitable for the native crayfish Astacus astacus. P. clarkii is also marketed by biological supply companies for teaching and research. P. clarkii also exhibits different color morphs, including white, blue, and orange and are commonly sold in pet stores.

The introduction of P. clarkii has also resulted in economic losses in some regions. In the Baixo Mondego region of Portugal, it caused a decrease in 6.3% of profits in rice fields.[8] However, this was on a wet-seeded field. All negative effects of crawfish can be avoided if adult crawfish are separated from the seed and seedlings.[9]

As food[edit]

Boiled crawfish, Louisiana

Procambarus clarkii is eaten in the United States, Cambodia, Europe, China, Africa, Australia, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand and the Caribbean. About 98% of the crayfish harvested in the United States come from Louisiana, where the standard culinary term is crawfish.

Louisiana in 1990 produced 90% of the crawfish in the world and consumed 70% locally.[10]

Louisiana crawfish are usually boiled in a large pot with heavy seasoning (salt, cayenne pepper, lemon, garlic, bay leaves, etc.) and other items such as potatoes and corn on the cob. Many differing methods are used to season a crawfish boil, and an equal number of opinions on which one is correct.[11] They are generally served at a gathering known as a crawfish boil.


Procambarus clarkii normally reproduces sexually, but recent research suggests it may also reproduce by parthenogenesis.[12]


  1. ^ a b K. A. Crandall (2010). "Procambarus clarkii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 3.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ C. Girard (1852). "A revision of the North American astaci, with observations on their habits and geographic distribution". Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 6: 87–91. 
  3. ^ "Seafood List Search Returns". FDA Acceptable Seafood Name Database. 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Procambarus clarkii (crustacean)". Global Invasive Species Database. March 31, 2006. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  5. ^ Bonvillain, Christopher P.; D. Allen Rutherford; William E. Kelso; Christopher C. Green (2012). "Physiological biomarkers of hypoxic stress in red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii from field and laboratory experiments". Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 163: 15–21. doi:10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.04.015. 
  6. ^ W. Ray McClain & Robert P. Romaire. "Crawfish culture: A Louisiana aquaculture success story" (PDF). World Aquaculture 35 (4): 31–35, 60–61. 
  7. ^ Miao Weimin (2010). "Recent developments in rice-fish culture in China: a holistic approach for livelihood improvement in rural areas". Success Stories in Asian Aquaculture. pp. 15–40. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-3087-0_2. ISBN 978-90-481-3087-0. 
  8. ^ Pedto M. Anastácio, Vasco S. Parente & Alexandra M. Correia (2005). "Crayfish effects on seeds and seedlings: identification and quantification of damage". Freshwater Biology 50 (4): 697–704. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2005.01343.x. 
  9. ^ https://estudogeral.sib.uc.pt/jspui/bitstream/10316/5448/1/file50b1ec0e12ad4323b6772dcd484668a8.pdf
  10. ^ Larry W. de la Bretonne, Jr. and Robert P. Romaire (1990). "Crawfish production: harvesting, marketing and economics" (PDF). SRAC Publication (Southern Regional Aquaculture Center) 42. 
  11. ^ How to Season a Crawfish Boil
  12. ^ G. H. Yue, G. L. Wang, B. Q. Zhu, C. M. Wang, Z .Y. Zhu, L. C. Lo (2008). "Discovery of four natural clones in a crayfish species Procambarus clarkii". International Journal of Biological Sciences 4 (5): 279–282. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4.279. PMC 2532795. PMID 18781225. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procambarus_clarkii — Please support Wikipedia.
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243 news items

Nature World News

Nature World News
Mon, 16 Nov 2015 11:25:13 -0800

This freshwater crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, is native to the southeast of the U.S., but also found in many other ecosystems as an invasive species. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons ). Invasive species are escaping from aquaculture facilities -- those that ...

La Tribuna di Treviso

La Tribuna di Treviso
Fri, 13 Nov 2015 02:41:15 -0800

Si tratta del pesce siluro, che negli ultimi anni ha risalito sempre più le acque del fiume eliminando molti altri predatori più piccoli e riproducendosi in pressoché totale assenza di pericoli, fatto salvo qualche pescatore; del Procambarus clarkii ...


Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:45:00 -0700

Based on a photo of the shell accompanying the article, the crawfish they found would be known in Louisiana as the red swamp crawfish, which has the scientific name of Procambarus clarkii, according to Robert Romaire, an aquaculture specialist with the ...


Mon, 13 Jul 2015 09:25:40 -0700

The Michigan DNR is trapping and netting in Lake Macatawa this week after four invasive red swamp crayfish were discovered at Kollen Park in Holland on June 26. (Photo: "Procambarus clarkii". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons) ...

China Radio International

China Radio International
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 22:15:00 -0700

กุ้งมังกรเล็กมีชื่อจริงว่า Procambarus clarkii เป็นกุ้งที่ใช้ชีวิตในน้ำจืด เป็นญาติของกุ้งมังกรใหญ่ด้วย. กุ้งมังกรเล็กแต่เดิมมีถิ่นอาศัยอยู่ทางภาคตะวันออกเฉียงใต้ของสหรัฐฯ บริเวณใกล้อ่าวเม็กซิโก โดยเฉพาะบริเวณปากแม่น้ำมิสซิสซิปปี จึงมีชื่อเรียกอีกอย่างว่า กุ้งรัฐหลุยส์เซียน่า เป็นสัดส่วน ...
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 12:17:32 -0700

Let's take a common freshwater crayfish — or crawfish, or crawdad —species, which has the scientific name Procambarus clarkii, but is known variously as the red swamp crawfish, the red swamp crayfish, the Louisiana crawfish or the mudbug. That's ...
Business Wire (press release)
Mon, 22 Jun 2015 08:45:00 -0700

The winners' project, entitled 'Mitigation of Hypoxic Ecosystems Using Hemolymph Analysis of Callinectes sapidus and Procambarus clarkii in Relation to Spartina Grasses, Year 2,' quantified the land loss of Isle Dernière and then determined the ...

Irish Times

Irish Times
Fri, 04 Sep 2015 17:04:15 -0700

A dramatic example of invasive competition has been that of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, originally from Mexico, intensively farmed in the United States and now on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. Agile and adaptable, it ...

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