The people at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are concerned about this new "Invasive Species" of crawfish called the Australian Redclaw Crayfish that has started showing up across south Texas in the Rio Grand Valley. Crayfish, crawfish... same thing. I know the TP&W says that these are a dangerous and invasive species and all, but let's be real here, East Texas and Louisianna wants to know... are they good eatin'?

When I say huge, I mean these illegal Aussie alien crawfish get up to 2 pounds in size. Correct me if I'm wrong but that's lobster-size isn't it?

A release from the Texas Department of Wildlife says that researchers from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley recently collected invasive Australian Redclaw Crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) at the first known site in Texas. From January–February, three specimens were collected at an apartment complex pond that connects to a nearby resaca in the Brownsville area.

TPWD Aquatic Biologist Dr. Archis Grubh surveyed numerous sites in the area during July and found three additional Australian Redclaw Crayfish between the apartment pond and a nearby resaca two miles away.

“We don’t know when these invasive crayfish were first introduced or how far they have spread, but we do know they can have a negative effect on local species and biodiversity,” said Grubh. “Spreading the word about this invasive species and reporting sightings to TPWD can help us better understand where it is distributed and potentially take steps to help prevent its spread.”

Both male and female Australian Redclaw Crayfish have been collected, so the potential for reproduction is a concern in these waterbodies. The species can reproduce prolifically, with females brooding up to five times a year at 1,000 eggs per clutch. Australian Redclaw Crayfish grow rapidly and can reach maximum size, up to two pounds, in under a year. These large crayfish can significantly alter habitat and vegetation, competitively exclude native crayfish, and impact native fish communities by direct predation. Australian Redclaw Crayfish can also carry Crayfish Plague as well as other parasites/diseases that could impact native crayfish.

Photo by Krys Amon on Unsplash
Photo by Krys Amon on Unsplash
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Don't Dump Your Aquarium

Australian Redclaw Crayfish are a prohibited "exotic species" in the state of Texas and cannot be legally purchased, sold or possessed in aquariums. It’s also illegal to release these crayfish into a public waterbody.

"Release of aquarium life is unfortunately a key means by which invasive species such as these crayfish are introduced,” said Monica McGarrity, TPWD Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species. “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 are identifiable by their large size, large left claws with a red patch on the outer edge and the presence of four distinct ridges on the top of the head.

aquaticinvasives@tpwd.texas.gov

For more information about the Redclaw Crayfish, check the original release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and follow them on Facebook.

The Good News?

We hear they taste just like lobster, this just may be the most delicious foreign species invasion yet. Is anyone hungry for seafood or is it just me?

They simply asked for you to report where you saw them not what you did with them... please try not to burp during the phone call. Just saying.

Photo by Pim Myten on Unsplash
Photo by Pim Myten on Unsplash
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