Big-As-Your-Arm Invasive Crawfish Found in Texas, Do We Fear Them or Eat Them?
Whether you're hosting crawfish boils in Dallas, TX, or in Houston, TX, you're going to want to pay close attention to this massive lobster-looking crawdaddy that is invading The Lone Star State.
It's an invasive species of crawfish, the Australian Redclaw Crayfish, which has been discovered by researchers from the University of Texas Rio Grand Valley in Texas, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
How big are these delicious-looking invaders? Adult males can weigh up to two pounds and will grow to 9 inches in length. When compared to native crawfish, like Red Swamp, those only grow up to four inches and weigh around a 10th of a pound.
But are these more dangerous than they are delectable?
“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 TPWD Aquatic Biologist Dr. Archis 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.” via Click2Houston
More often than not the introduction of an invasive species such as that comes from a well-intentioned pet owner who instead of killing their pet sets them free. So far there have only been a few confirmed sightings in Texas and California.
Texas Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologist Dr. Archis Grubh says they received "seven or eight" reliable reports after that callout, all of Australian Redclaws in South Texas.
"I got responses from a lot of locals, from game wardens and other people that were interested in knowing more about it and also had noticed (Redclaws) out there," Grubh said. "It seems like these guys have been around for quite a while now."
"We're interested in knowing how far this species has spread and what is its effect on the native crayfish and fish species that are in rare numbers," Grubh said. "We are in the process of working on certain projects with university partners to push research in that direction." via Chron.com
What's the difference between these and the ones we're used to seeing around in Texas? "The species 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," writes Click2Houston.