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  Rusty Crayfish
in the Great Lakes Region

Overview | General Resources | Related Resources
 
Current invaders:
Crustaceans: Rusty Crayfish | Spiny Water Flea
Fish: Goby (Round) | Goby (Tubenose) | Rudd | Ruffe | Sea Lamprey | White Perch
Mollusks: Quagga Mussel | Zebra Mussel
Plants: Curly-leaf Pondweed | Eurasian Watermilfoil | Phragmites (non-native) | Purple Loosestrife
Viruses: Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSv)
 
Potential invaders:
Fish: Asian Carp

[Invasive species home page]

 
Overview
Rusty Crayfish Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) are native to streams in the Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee region. Spread by anglers who use them as bait, rusty crayfish are prolific and can severely reduce lake and stream vegetation, depriving native fish and their prey of cover and food. They also reduce native crayfish populations.
 
Photo Credit: Minnesota Sea Grant, Jeff Gunderson
 
References: A Field Guide to Aquatic Exotic Plants and Animals, University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program

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What's New
Salties bring no new invaders, thanks to ‘swish and spit’
Duluth News Tribune (4/11)
Supporters say saltwater flush is working to thwart invasives until ballast treatment arrives in Great Lakes.

Cleaning up the Great Lakes
The Voice (7/30)
New standards governing the cleaning of ballast water in ocean-going freighters, about to be adopted by the U.S. Coast Guard, should help prevent release of non-native species into the Great Lakes and other threatened U.S. waters.

Luring an invasive fish with pheromones
Great Lakes Radio Consortium (1/3)
The discovery of a chemical compound that attracts an invasive fish could be a breakthrough in controlling harmful fish populations.

Threat increasing from invasive fish
Great Lakes Radio Consortium (9/9)
A spiny fish that can hunt in the dark has invaded Lake Michigan. The foreign fish is known as the Eurasian ruffe.

Another non-native fish species poses threat to lake ecosystem
Chicago Sun-Times (9/4)
The Eurasian ruffe, a small, spiny fish native to the Black and Caspian seas, has been found in the waters of Lake Michigan, which has wildlife biologists worried.

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General Resources
Exotic Crayfish Research
Illinois Natural History Survey, Center for Biodiversity
These studies, briefly described in the INHS's 1994-1995 annual report, assess the range of the rusty crayfish in Illinois and its impact on native Illinois species.

Rusty Crayfish: A Nasty Invader
Minnesota Sea Grant Program
This 1994 fact sheet provides an overview of the rusty crayfish, including its origin and distribution, life history, food habits, potential impacts, control efforts and identifcation.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Fauna
GLIN: Fish and Fisheries in the Great Lakes Region

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Updated: December 12, 2017
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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