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devil crayfish

devil crayfish (Lacunicambarus diogenes complex)
Photo © Chris Taylor, Illinois Natural History Survey

Features and Behaviors

Cambarus diogenes is known by its common names of devil crayfish, chimney crayfish, thunder crawfish or meadow crayfish. It has large claws that are covered with many bumps. The back may be red-brown to green with red outlines on the abdominal segments, tips of the claws and area between the eyes.

The devil crayfish digs burrows near streams, ponds and lakes. It piles mud balls into a chimney at the top of the burrow. Burrow openings along a stream usually lead to an underwater chamber and a second tunnel that leads into the stream. Mating occurs in fall, late winter or early spring in open water. About 300 eggs are laid per female. Females carrying eggs have been found in Illinois in the months of January through May. Young have been found carried by the female in May and June. This crayfish is believed to eat plant material.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Cambaridae

Illinois Status: common, native