Jun 142011
 
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Once I was aware that crayfish in this part of North Texas are able to form colonies well away from standing water, I began to look for their chimneys in other locations. My first find away from the original colony was on the freshly mowed grounds of this neighborhood church. The mud chimneys of this colony were easy to spot from the road as I drove by.

This new colony is roughly two miles to the east of the first colony I found in a neighborhood park.

When I took these pictures I had still not identified the species of crayfish I had found. Through my research, though, I was shocked to discover that there are over 350 species of crayfish in the North America, of which around 36 live in Texas. Further, I was also surprised to discover a number of these species live the majority of their lives in burrows, well away from bodies of standing water. It had been my assumption, up until this point, that all crayfish were strictly aquatic animals.

My first find away from the original colony was on the freshly mowed grounds of this neighborhood church. The mud chimneys of this colony were easy to spot from the road as I drove by.

Checking around, I found additional Crayfish Chimneys in this field just across the street from the church. The total area covered by this colony is approximately 3 acres.

In this picture you can see three separate capped Crayfish Chimneys located on the grounds of the church near the entrance to its parking lot.

Once again, I found a number of different types of crayfish burrows in this colony. They ranged in form from simple holes in the ground to tall mounds of mud. This is one of the larger chimneys I discovered. Note the gravel and other substrate in its construction.

Another Crayfish Chimney. The examples I found at this location differed from the ones at the park in that they were dry rather than wet, and had fewer signs of recent burrowing activity.

A smaller burrow with only the beginnings of a chimney.

After only a brief search, I found the remains of two large adult male crayfish.

Here is the dorsal view of the crayfish from the last photograph.

Here is a photograph of the second deceased individual I discovered at the church colony. This is a large Form I (reproductive) Male.

This is a photograph of the same crayfish, this time from the top.

One last view of this large, Form I Male.

Observation Details

County Denton
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Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit
City Carrollton
Date July 30, 2007
Time of Day Afternoon
Temperature Warm (70-89°F/21-32°C)
Weather Partly Cloudy
Habitat Community-Church/School/Civic
Type of Behavior Congregating
Gender Mixed
Maturity Mixed
Observer Chris Jackson
Main Article Parkhill Prairie Crayfish Observation Location
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