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northern clearwater crayfish

northern clearwater crayfish (Faxonius propinquus)
Photo © Chris Taylor, Illinois Natural History Survey

Features and Behaviors

The northern clearwater crayfish has large claws. The claws have red tips and a black band near the end. Its back is green to red-brown.

The northern clearwater crayfish lives in clean, rocky riffles of creeks and rivers. This crayfish may dig under rocks in the stream to avoid drying out when the water level in the stream is low. It may also dig into the stream bank. Free-swimming young appear in late spring. Most reach maturity by fall. Mating takes place in fall or early spring. About 150 to 300 eggs per female are laid in March or April and hatch in four to six weeks. Those individuals that reach maturity and reproduce in their first year, die after reproducing. Those individuals that mature in the second growing season usually live two years or sometimes three years. The northern clearwater crayfish is an omnivore, feeding on plant material and insect larvae.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native