Monster-Sized Crawfish Is Found in Texas Pond
Louisiana folks know all about crawfish and love when we find those big ones in the pot. But in Texas, things are bigger and they have discovered some monster sized crawfish that has everyone talking.
Texas Parks and Wildlife experts say several invasive Australian Redclaw Crayfish have been found by researchers from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in far south Texas.
At least 3 of these huge crawfish have been found in a pond that connects to a Brownsville-area oxbow lake. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued a statement saying these species “are identifiable by their large size, large left claws with a red patch on the outer edge, and the presence of four distinct ridges on the top of the head. Their preferred habitat includes slow-moving streams and stagnant water bodies with high turbidity. They are mobile over moist terrestrial vegetation and can move between waterbodies.”
This is not exactly brand-new information about these big crawfish. A female crawfish from this same species was discovered way back in 2013 and was noted on iNaturalist. This same species of crawfish has also been found in California.
Why Texas Wants to Stop the Spread of These Crawfish
TPWD Aquatic Biologist Dr. Archis Grubh says
We don’t know when these invasive crayfish were first introduced or how far they have spread, but we do know they can have a negative effect on local species and biodiversity. Spreading the word about this invasive species and reporting sightings to TPWD can help us better understand where it is distributed and potentially take steps to help prevent its spread.
The researchers have found females and males in this discovery and say reproduction is probably happening in the south Texas area. TPWD says this Australian crawfish can reproduce fast having baby crawfish as many as five times a year with as many as 1,000 eggs each time.
How Big Can These Australian Crawfish Get?
Researchers say they grow very fast and can reach maximum size, up to two pounds, in less than a year. TPWD says these large crayfish can alter the habitat and vegetation which could harm the existing crawfish species and impact the fish population in the region. There’s also concerns that these mudbugs can also carry Crawfish Plague that could kill off the native crawfish.
Don’t Start Thinking About a Monster Sized Crawfish Boil
You cannot get your hands on these crawfish. TPWD says these are prohibited exotic species in Texas and cannot be legally purchased, sold or possessed in aquariums. You are also not allowed to let these big mudbugs loose in public bodies of water.
“Release of aquarium life is unfortunately a key means by which invasive species such as these crayfish are introduced,” said Monica McGarrity, TPWD Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species. “Well-meaning, uninformed aquarium owners sometimes release their pets thinking they’re doing the best thing for them, but if they do survive, they can become invasive and harm the native aquatic species and ecosystem. Aquarium owners should research alternatives to aquarium dumping and help prevent introductions of the next invasive species.”
Anyone who sees one of these Australian Redclaw Crayfish is urged to report it to TPWD by emailing photos and location information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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