After lots of rain, it’s no surprise to see the desert come to life—however, certain lifeforms end up in strange places when it rains, as was the case when a Moriarty resident found a crayfish in their driveway last week.
“The cat was making a lot of noise,” said James Reader, a Moriarty resident. “My wife went out to investigate and called me out to see a crayfish crawling on the driveway.”
Reader said the neighbor next door has a pond and he recently learned that crayfish can climb pretty well. He said he wasn’t sure if the crayfish was from next door or if it came from underground. He said either way it was pretty surprising to see one so far away from the usual places they are found.
According to the Forest Service, the Northern crayfish is a small, lobster-like crustacean that inhabits freshwater ponds, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and streams. They can also be found in a range of substrates including rocks, sand and mud.
Its coloration is typically muddy green to reddish-brown with green to greenish blue pincers with orange tips. The crayfish is “an opportunistic omnivore,” consuming aquatic plants, larval fish, snakes, turtles, insects, and other invertebrates.
According to the Forest Service, crayfish populations have exploded in Arizona and have been implicated in a number of native species declines, including lowland leopard frogs, mud turtles and the Little Colorado spine dace. Endangered native species, including the Chiricahua leopard frog and the Gila topminnow, may also be at risk. Northern crayfish are introduced by escaping, being released from bait buckets or discarded by aquarium enthusiasts.
After posting a photo of the seemingly estranged crayfish, Reader said lot of people reached out to give their theories about its arrival and facts about the local crustaceans.