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Rusty Crayfish

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Rusty crayfish
Rusty crayfish adult - Photo by U.S. Geological Survey
Scientific Name: 
Orconectes rusticus (Girard, 1852) (ITIS)
Common Name: 
Rusty crayfish
Native To: 
Ohio River drainage (Wilson et al. 2004)
Date of U.S. Introduction: 
First discovered outside of its native range in Wisconsin in the 1960s (DiDonato and Lodge 1993)
Means of Introduction: 
Probably through bait bucket releases (DiDonato and Lodge 1993)
Competes with native crayfish species and causes a decline in native species abundance (DiDonato and Lodge 1993)
Current U.S. Distribution: 
Great Lakes Region, New England, and Eastern U.S.


Invasive Crayfish Collaborative.

The Invasive Crayfish Collaborative includes representatives of Great Lakes local, state and federal natural resource agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private businesses. These experts and stakeholders are working towards the region’s collective ability to manage and control invasive crayfish.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

DOI. USGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides detailed collection information as well as animated map.



Google. YouTube; University of Wisconsin-Madison. Center for Limnology.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Rusty Crayfish.

Council or Task Force

Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.

Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada).

Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel.
Texas State University System. Texas Invasive Species Institute.
Federal Government

DOI. NPS. Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway.

Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Marine Invasions Research Lab.

DOI. USGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).
International Government
Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Central and Arctic Region.
Canadian Manuscript Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2923.
State and Local Government
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife is monitoring the state's waters for the introduction of an aggressive invasive species, the rusty crayfish. Rusty crayfish were found for the first time in Colorado during routine sampling operations in 2009 in the Yampa River drainage between Steamboat Springs and the town of Yampa. Because of their larger size and more aggressive nature, rusty crayfish can impact fish populations by consuming small fish and fish eggs, and negatively impact fish and spread unwanted aquatic plants by aggressively harvesting underwater plant beds. Learn more how to identify the rusty crayfish, how to stop the spread and how to report sightings.
University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology.
Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania Sea Grant.
See also: Aquatic Invasive Species: Resources for additional species information
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Chesapeake Bay Program.

Invasive Species Centre (Ontario).

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (Michigan).