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virile crayfish

virile crayfish (Faxonius virilis)
Photo © Chris Taylor, Illinois Natural History Survey

Features and Behaviors

This crayfish is the most common crayfish in Illinois. The virile crayfish has large claws with numerous bumps on them. The back is light brown to dark green-brown.

The virile crayfish lives in rocky creeks and rivers and lake margins. Burrows of this crayfish may be found along a streambank, but it more frequently hides and overwinters under rocks. The virile crayfish usually reaches maturity in its third year. About 450 eggs are laid in the period March through July. This crayfish eats both dead and living plants and animals.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native