The Crayfish of Nebraska

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/720963

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 148

1 INTRODUCTION HISTORY OF CRAYFISH COLLECTING IN NEBRASKA The "history" of crayfish collecting in Nebraska is a short one. The earliest known collections are to be found in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. The museum has specimens from the 1890's (five), 1920's (two), 1940's (one), 1950's (one) and the 1960's (three). These were of two species, the Calico Crayfish (Orconectes immunis) and the Northern Crayfish (Orconectes virilis). The first published account on Nebraska's crayfishes was done in 1926 by a fellow named Earl Theron Engle 54 . Earl T. Engle, born in Iowa, went to college at Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln. He must have shown some interest as he stated that he was encouraged to do a study of Nebraska's crayfish by Dr. Wolcott of the Zoology Department at the University of Nebraska. Later extended to include Colorado, his Nebraska collections were not terribly extensive. In his paper, he wasn't very clear as to where he collected but it looks like he visited between 15 and 20 sites statewide. He was a little hazy on some of his identifications but it appears he found four species, the Calico Crayfish, the Northern Crayfish, the Ringed Crayfish (Orconectes neglectus neglectus), and the Devil Crayfish (Cambarus diogenes). Now we skip ahead 28 years to 1954. Austin B. Williams 246 mentions the collection of some Ringed Crayfish from Rock Creek in Dundy County, Nebraska by Dr. Frank Cross (University of Kansas). A little after this, A.L. Metcalf, a student of Dr. Cross, collected fishes (and crayfish) in Kansas and Nebraska and wrote a paper on his collections of Ringed Crayfish in Nebraska 158 . That is it. From 1890 through 1970, a period of 80 years, we have a grand total of less than 35 collections of crayfish of four species from the entire state. This is not a very impressive total and whole sections of the state are missed.

Articles in this issue

view archives of OutdoorNebraska - The Crayfish of Nebraska