Northern Clearwater Crayfish, Faxonius propinquus
OTHER COMMON NAMES
Faxonius, named for Walter Faxon (1848-1920), American ornithologist and carcinologist. Former genus, Orconectes, is from Orcus, god of the underworld in Roman mythology + nectes: swimming (Greek); propinquus: nearby (unclear what this is in relation to)
Ecology, Habitat, & Behavior
It’s hard to say much about about the northern clearwater crayfish with any specificity, as they’re generalists in terms of both habitat and diet. They’ve a slight preference towards streams with medium flow where the river is free of vegetation and the river bottom is more rocky than muddy. Typically these environments have low sediment load. While other species are capable of avoiding desiccation by burrowing, northern clearwater crayfish do not burrow. As such, they’re confined to permanent bodies of water (e.g. lakes, ponds, wide rivers, quick flowing brooks).
They’re active both at night and during the day. One study found that they’re least active at night near a full moon, and most active near a new moon (source). When they do emerge from refugia (under rocks or logs), they forage on a broad range of foods, trending slightly towards plant material (though they opportunistically will consume large amounts of trout, bluegill, and other fish eggs).