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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
608-266-4340

Prairie Crayfish (Procambarus gracilis)

Need a main photo for this animal


Overview

Overview

Prairie crayfish (Procambarus gracilis), a State Special concern crayfish. This primarily burrowing crayfish is restricted to prairie regions of southeastern Wisconsin and is the rarest crayfish in Wisconsin. This species frequents burrows in banks of ponds, roadside ditches, small sluggish creeks, marshes, swamps, and small artificial lakes, as well as wet pastures and flat fields in prairies. The burrows can be quite deep and branching, with a characteristic mud chimney. This species spends most of its life in its burrow habitat, coming out at night and during rain events. Breeding occurs and young hatch in early spring, as early as March, with juveniles occurring through spring and summer. Females move to open water for a relatively short period in the summer where the newly hatched young are released.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Prairie Crayfish (Procambarus gracilis). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.


Documented locations of Procambarus gracilis in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2S3
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY
WWAP SGCN

Species guidance


A guidance document is not available at this time. Use the information from the other tabs and contact local biologists, as needed, to develop management and avoidance strategies.

Photos/Video

No additional photos are available for Prairie Crayfish at this time. Please consider donating a photo to the Natural Heritage Conservation program.


Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Prairie Crayfish. Only natural communities for which Prairie Crayfish is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score
Mesic Prairie 2
Wet Prairie 2
Wet-mesic Prairie 2

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Prairie Crayfish. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Prairie Crayfish occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.


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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.


* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Tuesday, May 21, 2019