With it being well distributed throughout the U.S. and other countries, the crayfish, also known as mudbugs, crawdads, crawfish, yabbies or freshwater lobsters, is a commonly seen arthropod that dwells under rocks and debris amongst the bottom of freshwater environments. Their habitats include lakes, swamps, reservoirs, streams, and sometimes, caves. The Settlement Canyon Reservoir in Tooele County is home to many crayfish. They can usually be found along the rocky shoreline under movable submerged rocks.
Crayfish that experience environmental water drought possess a natural survival technique that is not only necessary for lack of water, but also to keep hidden from predators. They do this by digging themselves a burrow and filling it with water.
Crayfish will trap themselves with enough water that will keep their skin moisturized or wet enough for a period of time. When the waters rise or the burrow entrance is wetted by rain, crayfish will emerge from their hiding burrow to see if their habitat is again safe for living. An interesting fact, scientists have discovered fossilized crayfish burrows dating back 225 million years ago.
Their reproduction process is also interesting. After the male has fertilized the eggs located on the underside of the female’s tail, these eggs will remain there for several weeks as the mother continues her daily routine. After hatching, the young crayfish still remain attached to their mother’s underside for a little bit longer, eating tiny floating bits of food in the water. They eventually leave their mother to care for themselves.
Crayfish can lay as many as 200 eggs, but many of the young and tiny crayfish are eaten by fish, insects and other crayfish.
Addie T. Lindsay is 17 years old. She is an accomplished writer and photographer of wildlife creatures, big and small. She can be reached at CritterChatter@Live.com.