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Differences Between Red Swamp Crawfish and White River Crawfish

Red Swamp Crawfish

  • Procambarus clarkii
  • crustacean
  • 70 – 80 % of annual catch in Louisiana
  • The two halves of the carapace meet to form a thin line down the middle of the back
  • Almost always has a blue-grey pigmented line on the underside of the tail
  • Mature crawfish have less elongated and more flattened claws
  • Darker colored walking legs - usually pink or red
  • As adults, always have red pigment on their bodies.  Not always so in juveniles.  
  • Females lay eggs any time, but mostly during fall and winter months
  • Produce up to twice as many eggs as white river crawfish with an average of about 250 babies per female
  • Thrive in habitats flooded early in the fall
  • Hatchlings are smaller than white river crawfish
  • Prefer swampy habitats
  • Usually mature during April – June period
  • Most young appear in the September – December period
  • Commercially valued in Louisiana
  • Thrive in seasonally flooded wetlands
  • Native range is northeastern Mexico and the south central United States
  • Listed as an invasive species in California, Maryland, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia
  • Introduced to many nations


White River Crawfish

  • Procambarus zonangulus
  • crustacean
  • 20 – 30 % of annual catch in Louisiana
  • A space called an areola separates the sides of the back, forming a gap in the middle
  • No pigmented line on the underside of the tail
  • Mature crawfish have more elongated and cylindrical claws
  • Lighter colored walking legs - usually white or tan
  • Never has red pigment on its body - sometimes adults can look pink or purplish
  • Females lay eggs only during mid- to late-fall
  • Produce fewer and larger eggs than red swamp crawfish with about 130 babies per female, on average
  • Thrive in habitats flooded late in the fall
  • Hatchlings are larger than red swamp crawfish
  • Prefer flooded wetlands with flowing, well-oxygenated water
  • Usually mature during March - May period
  • All young appear in the September – December period
  • Commercially valued in Louisiana
  • Thrive in seasonally flooded wetlands
  • Native range is Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas
  • Not listed as an invasive species
  • Endemic only to the United States
Last Updated: 3/5/2012 2:37:31 PM

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