Results of common names for the little freshwater lobsters in the Astaceae family
Well, the results are in, and it looks like we (59.6% of us) prefer to call these crustaceans crayfish. Of the 55 people who responded, everyone used one of the four most common terms (crayfish, crawdad, crawfish, crawdaddy, in that order), except for one person who apparently calls them “shoo-lobs,” which I quite like. This fascinating heat map shows how common each term is across the country.
As adults, weÂ rarely consider the humble crayfish, other than, perhaps, in wistful musings about how those summer hours during the carefree years of our youth spent flipping over rocks. Perhaps if we lived in the south, our interest would have shifted as we grew older, though not much past our stomachs. Somehow in the foodie northeast, the localvore movement seems to have swept right on past these tiny shellfish (thoughÂ Sal VitaglinoÂ is trying to change that). We’re left then, trying to make sense of a group of organisms mostly overlooked. It’s pretty hard to find good, detailed, and reliable scientific information on crayfish in the northeast.Â I found it hard to even find consistent information on which species we have here in Vermont. And within the lists, there’s often conflicting information about which species are native and which have been introduced.
Well, lets put an end to that, eh? In theÂ previous issue, I showed you how to tell males from females.Â In this newsletter I’ll point out some key features that astacologists (scientists who study crayfish) use to identify various species of crayfish by looking at two common species in Vermont, the northern clearwater and the virile crayfish.