Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Warns of Massive, Invasive Crawfish

by Sean Griffin

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) warns Texans about an invasive crawfish from Australia.

The department said Thursday that researchers at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley recently found the first known introduction of an invasive species: the Australian Redclaw Crayfish.

Apparently, this marks just the second detection of this species in the wild in the United States, California being the other. Six Redclaw Crayfish, both males and females, were found near a pond at an apartment complex in Brownsville, Texas.

TPWD officials warned that the animals reproduce quickly. For example, female redclaw crayfish can carry 1,000 eggs up to five times a year. They reach up to two pounds in under a year.

However, TPWD said the crayfish also carry Crayfish Plague, as well as other parasites/diseases that could impact native crayfish.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Australian Redclaw Crayfish cannot be legally puchased, sold, or possessed in the state. Furthermore, it remains illegal to release these crayfish into a public body of water.

Monica McGarrity, a senior scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species at TPWD, talked about these crayfish in a press release.

Invasive Species Endangers Texas Crawfish

“Release of aquarium life is unfortunately a key means by which invasive species such as these crayfish are introduced,” McGarrity said. “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.”

Australian Redclaw Crayfish possess large left claws. They have a red patch on the outer edge and four distinct ridges on the top of the head. They prefer living in slow-moving streams or stagnant water bodies with high turbidity.

TPWD stated that the crayfish move over moist vegetation on land. Additionally, they can move between different regions adeptly.

If you happen to see an Australian Redclaw Crayfish, you can report it to TPWD. Email photos and location details to [email protected] to report an Australian Redclaw Crayfish.

Invasive species often ravage ecosystems. Officials in Montana currently contend with an invasive snail species from New Zealand.

According to Fox News, officials identified the invasive snail species as the New Zealand mud snail. Officials recently discovered the snails at Bluewater Fish Hatchery, south of Laurel, MT.

However, in an effort to stop Montana fishermen from spreading the invasive species, the hatchery must get rid of most of its fish.

Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department announced a plan to conduct an investigation. Eileen Ryce, the department’s fisheries division administrator, said, “We are conducting a full decontamination and our oldest concrete settling basins, where this infestation was discovered, will no longer be used.”