Backyard Creature Of The Week:
The rusty crayfish, Orconectes rusticus, is a large, aggressive species of freshwater crayfish which is native to the U.S. states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. Its range is rapidly expanding in North America, displacing native crayfishes in the process: it is known to have reached New England, Ontario, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and even Manitoba. The rusty crayfish was first captured in Illinois in 1973, and has been collected at over 20 locations in the northern portion of the state. Rusty crayfish eat small fish, insects, and fish eggs. They also eat aquatic vegetation, damaging underwater habitat that is important for fish spawning, cover, and food. Females lay from 80-575 eggs!