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And Now, our Crayfish are Anxious

We live in a world that is way too uptight.  How uptight?  So uptight that even our crayfish are anxious.  Don’t believe me?  Well, there are some pointy-headed crayfish biologists that say otherwise:  Anxious Crayfish.


Actually, if you read the article, it does make some sense, at least it does to a pointy-headed biologist.  Molting, or more correctly ecdysis, is a stressful time for crayfish and for good reason. . . . Ecdysial crayfish have “soft shells”, and it takes some time for their exoskeletons to harden.  While they are soft, they are delectable morsels for big, hungry predator fish.  You also would be stressed if you were without protection and something much bigger was trying to eat you whole!

Ecdysial crayfish are great bait, but they are harder to keep on a hook because they are soft.  It is also believed that fish can sense, probably smell, that the crayfish are in the process of ecdysis.  I do not know if anyone has been able to reproduce that smell, those enzymes, and put them on baits or in bottles.

What puzzles me is that other researchers have been getting crayfish drunk while these guys are finding stressed crayfish (And Now, Even our Crayfish are Drunk).  Maybe the crayfish get stressed and then turn to alcohol?

The whole biology and molting of crayfish is actually fascinating.  If you wish, you can read more about it, The Crayfish of Nebraska.  Did you know that molting crayfish also get stomach stones, kind of like kidney stones?  No wonder they are stressed, but alcohol sure ain’t gonna help that.  I think they just need to relax and go fishing more!

Have a great weekend!  Take some crayfish and help them with their stress, and no, I am not talking about getting them drunk.

Photo of a northern crayfish taken from The Crayfish of Nebraska by Steven C. Schainost.

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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