Crayfish, sometimes called crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs, yabbies, or spoondogs, are freshwater crustaceans (decapoda) resembling small lobsters, to which they are closely related. They are found in bodies of fresh water that do not freeze to the bottom, which are not polluted, and which have shelter against predators. Some crayfish have been found living as much as 3 m (10 feet) underground.





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A Swedish lake crayfishThere are three families of crayfish, two in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere. The Southern-hemisphere (Gondwana-distributed) family Parastacidae lives in South America, southern Africa, Madagascar and Australasia. Many Australian crayfish are of the genus Cherax; and include the Marron (Cherax tenuimanus), Red Claw Crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), Yabby (Cherax destructor) and Western Yabby (Cherax preissii). The world's largest crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi, is found in the rivers of northern Tasmania. It can reach a weight of 4 kg. The family Astacidae contains the native European crayfish, as well as those in western North America, such as Pacifastacus. The third family, Cambaridae, contains crayfish in east Asia and eastern North America, such as Cambarus, and Zarigani, crayfish indigenous to Japanese rivers and ponds.

Images 1 & 2 Come From The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Image Number 3 Is Courtesy of The USDA
Images 4 Through 9 Come From The NOAA























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