A comprehensive assessment of the 99 known species of crayfishes inhabiting the state of Alabama
Crayfishes are common organisms in many freshwater habitats. They are usually the largest invertebrates and often represent the greatest amount of invertebrate biomass in their environments. Identified as a keystone species in many ecological communities, aquatic biologists are fond of saying “they eat everything, and everything eats them.”
Crayfishes—sometimes called crawfishes, crawdads, mudbugs, ditchbugs, yabbies, and flusskrebs—are taxonomically and ecologically a diverse group of aquatic crustaceans. There are more than 600 known species worldwide and North America alone is home to more than 400. As home to 99 documented species, Alabama is a global hotspot for crayfish diversity.
Crayfishes of Alabama is the first comprehensive reference work on the subject and provides the most up-to-date information on the vast range of crayfishes known to reside in Alabama. The authors have collected specimens and data from the state’s major and minor waterways and lakes, as well as specialized habitats such as burrows, caves, roadside ditches, marshes, swamps, and temporary autumnal ponds. This volume represents the most in-depth treatment of crayfishes found in the southeastern United States and offers detailed species accounts including descriptions of morphological characters, color, maximum size, comparative species, distribution and habitat, biology, crayfish associates, and conservation status. The species accounts are accentuated with color photographs, photographic morphological plates, and dot maps showing state and national distributions. A photographic key is provided to guide the identification of all 99 species.
About the Author
Guenter A. Schuster is Foundation Professor Emeritus at Eastern Kentucky University. He has been named Kentucky Naturalist of the Year and has been given the Kentucky Biodiversity Protection Award. He is coauthor of The Crayfishes of Kentucky and Field Guide to Crayfishes of the Midwest. He has authored numerous other publications on crayfishes, as well as caddisflies and freshwater mussels.
Christopher A. Taylor is Senior Scientist and Curator of Crustaceans at the Illinois Natural History Survey and University of Illinois. He is coauthor of The Crayfishes of Kentucky and Field Guide to Crayfishes of the Midwest and coeditor of Canaries in the Catbird Seat: The Past, Present, andFuture of Biological Resources in a Changing Environment.
Stuart W. McGregor is director of the Ecosystems Investigations Program at the Geological Survey of Alabama. He is author or coauthor of numerous scientific journal articles and government bulletins, circulars, posters, and popular articles pertaining to Alabama’s freshwater ecology.
“Crayfishes of Alabama offers a comprehensive and beautifully illustrated account of the state’s incredible crayfish diversity. The content, which includes overviews of Alabama’s diverse aquatic habitats and physiography, a review of crayfish taxonomy, and engaging descriptions of crayfish reproduction, life cycles, conservation, and ecological importance will appeal to professional scientist, budding naturalist, and anyone that has fond memories of catching crawdads as a kid. The book also has a myriad of species identification tools including a dichotomous key to all 99 species of Alabama crayfishes and detailed species accounts with beautiful photographs and distribution maps stemming from thousands of verified specimen records. These tools, along with the detailed description of crayfish anatomy and a glossary of terms makes this book and excellent resource for identifying Alabama crayfishes and represents a much-needed contribution to our understanding of North American crayfish biodiversity.” —Dr. Rebecca Blanton Johansen, Professor of Biology and PI, Center of Excellence for Field Biology, Austin Peay State University