Did you know there are 35 native species of crayfish in Missouri? Seven of these native species are not found anywhere else in the world! Crayfish are the largest aquatic invertebrate in Missouri and are an important food source for fish like bass and catfish, and a delicious food for us humans.
Different species of crayfish can be found in surface streams, marshes and shallows of ponds and lakes, burrows away from surface water and underground streams. Some species can live in more than one habitat, but many do not.
Because of their popularity as bait, non-native crayfish are often released into a body of water where they historically have not existed. The Rusty Crayfish is the most widespread and harmful introduced species in North America. Invasive crayfish like this are very aggressive and cause destruction of aquatic plants along with declines in fish and crayfish.
Discover more about our native crayfish with our online field guide or Identifying Crayfish brochure.
Crayfish are part of a group of organisms called aquatic macro-invertebrates. Get up close and personal with macro-invertebrates and learn more about what they tell us about water quality this Saturday. Register for one of our Aquatics programs this Saturday. The 90 minute programs begin at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Canoeing is a great way to see crayfish in Missouri’s streams. Consider registering for one of our virtual or in-person Float Like a Pro programs next week.