Fisherman's Island State Park, Charlevoix, Michigan - USA / Rusty_Crayfish-Orconectes_rusticus
C.Psenka 2008 for Fisherman's Island State park -
Custom Search
Previous Home Next


Rusty Crayfish ( Orconectes rusticus )

Rusty crayfish resemble lobsters, a distant saltwater relative. Sporting a thick, bony plated exoskeleton with oversized claws, a mature crayfish often has rusty spots on either side of the carapace.

They require permanent bodies of water with cover of rocks, logs, or tree branches. Rusty crayfish are voracious feeders and feast on aquatic plants, invertebrates, aquatic insects, and other crustaceans. Detritus, fish eggs, and small fish complete their diet.

A native of the Ohio River Basin, it is considered a threat to Michigan's native crayfish population, and could have environmental and economic impacts on local areas. The major threat is the reduction of aquatic plant beds and the species that live in these communities. Many fish may lose nesting areas and shelter when aquatic plant beds are reduced.

The release of rusty crayfish into Michigan waters by anglers using them as bait has allowed the spread of this non-native species.

A potential control of this aquatic alien may be as close as your cookbook. They can be used for a variety of tasty dishes. Michigan's fishing regulations place several restrictions on the use and sale of rusty crayfish in Michigan. above source: MDNR
Photos by C. Psenka 2008 for SleepingBear.Org