Crayfish or Crawfish are feisty freshwater crustaceans that resemble small lobsters. America has over 330 species of Crawfish apparently, and 34 of them live in Louisiana where two varieties are a popular food item and important to the economy. They are eaten boiled or with their tails as key ingredients in sumptuous dishes such as Etouffee or Bienville. Crawfish are decapod crustaceans, like lobsters, mostly 3 or 4 inches long and they can sometimes be seen traversing the forest floor or creek bed like little armoured vehicles. They dig burrows in damp muddy areas casting the mud into ‘spires’ around their burrow entrances. Mostly we see these signs of their activity rather than the architects themselves.
This morning I took my Lumix Fz48 with a macro filter for a walk down through the woods at Crawfish Springs and enjoyed the following interesting encounters:
A slender young Phasmid (Stick Insect).
A snoozing Box Turtle! I was delighted to see one abroad (I hesitate to say active) at about 11.30, normally they are crepuscular and emerge from their burrows to feed off fungi. This is a new specimen, the curious wear and tear on its shell is distinctive.
Then I was also very pleased to see something scurrying in the leaf litter at Turkey Foot Spring, which is currently more of a seep, really. Jade green with orange trim and a perky aspect, the Crawfish posed defensively for my photography.
I miss my Sigma, but the Lumix did pretty well. I wish I’d taken my Fz70 as well, but there’s always next time!
I have contacted Dr. Fetzner author of The crayfish and lobster taxonomy browser to ask him for an identification. He kindly responded very promptly with the following information:
“A very nice specimen. It looks like you have the Painted Devil Crayfish, Cambarus (Lacunicambarus) ludovicianus. It is a species that digs burrows and spends most of its life underground. This species can be found throughout most of Louisiana where the water table is close to the surface.”
Fetzner, J. W., Jr. (2005). The crayfish and lobster taxonomy browser: A global taxonomic resource for freshwater crayfish and their closest relatives. Accessed: 1 July 2015. http://iz.carnegiemnh.org/crayfish/NewAstacidea/