DWARF CAJUN CRAYFISH C. SHUFELDTII
Another dwarf that only grows to 1½ inches long is the dwarf
Cajun crayfish C. shufeldtii. Adult males are slightly larger with
longer claws. Provide extra hiding places and a fine- to medium-grain substrate for burrowing. Native to the southern United States,
temperatures of 68° to 85°F suit it fine.
The prominent claw of male fiddler crabs of the genus Uca has a whole range of uses, from fighting to impressing the opposite sex.
RED CRAYFISH PROCAMBARUS SP.
The red crayfish Procambarus sp. is a remarkably resilient species
that may grow in popularity among koi pondkeepers on account
of its acceptance of a very wide temperature range and tolerance
of slightly saline water. Though they only grow to 5 inches long,
they can be pugnacious and require at least a 40-gallon aquarium.
They should not be housed with their own kind or with vulnerable
fish or invertebrates. This species is highly variable in coloration,
but some impressive blue-black morphs with red speckles are
occasionally available. Native to the southern and central United
States, they can survive a temperature range of 33° to 85°F.
the female’s abdomen is broader and rounder.
Below are some of the crabs that are suitable for an aquarium or
paludarium and are available in the trade.
HAMMER’S COBALT BLUE LOBSTER PROCAMBARUS SP.
The cobalt blue lobster grows to about 5 inches long and requires at
least a 20-gallon aquarium. It is known for the intensity of its bright-blue pigmentation. Provide a medium- or fine-grain substrate for
burrowing. This is a domesticated strain selectively bred for its color;
the wild form is a drab greenish brown and native to North American
ponds and streams. It does best at temperatures between 68° and 85°F.
Other species of interest include the signal crayfish Pacifastacus
leniusculus, noble crayfish Astacus astacus, spiny-cheeked crayfish
Orconectes limosus, calico crayfish O. immunis, common yabby
Cherax destructor, and the White River crayfish Procambarus acutus.
FIDDLER CRAB UCA SP.
Male fiddler crabs use their singly enlarged claw to fight, make
conspicuous territorial displays, and impress females of their kind.
A semiterrestrial species, fiddlers must have access to a dry area,
preferably with sand for digging and a secure aquarium lid to
prevent escape. This species prefers brackish conditions (about
1.005 specific gravity). It is native to the brackish swamps and
estuaries of Florida and thrives at 74° to 84°F.
Crabs are an extremely diverse group of decapods. There are over
4500 species, 850 of which are described as inhabiting freshwater
or semiterrestrial habitats. They range in size from just a few
millimeters wide to over 10 feet. The number and different types of
crabs available make it almost impossible to make generalizations
about their care requirements in captivity. If you are interested in
keeping a crab, be sure to do thorough research about a particular
species’ needs before purchasing.
In true crabs, the carapace (upper portion of the exoskeleton)
is flattened, and the abdomen is reduced. They may not have
antennae, and if they do they are extremely short. Males often have
larger claws than females and have a triangular abdomen, whereas
SPIDER CRAB LIMNOPILOS NAIYANETRI
The spider crab Limnopilos naiyanetri is a tiny species that can be
safely kept with small, peaceful fish. It feeds mainly upon algae and
detritus. It is native to large, moving bodies of water in Thailand. It
prefers softer water and temperatures of 75° to 82°F.
FLOWER CRAB SESARMOPS INTERMEDIUM
A larger species, the flower crab requires at least a 40-gallon
aquarium or paludarium with a secure lid to prevent escape. It is
a semiterrestrial omnivore. Interestingly, very young and mature
individuals tend to burrow close to the water’s edge, while middle-aged individuals prefer to burrow farther from the shore. This
crab is native to wooded creeks in southern Taiwan and likes
temperatures of 68° to 82°F.
Rainbow crab Cardisoma sp.; proper research should be
conducted before acquiring any crab species due to their
incredible diversity and extremely variable care requirements.
RED CLAW CRAB SESARMA BIDENS
The red claw crab grows to a leg span of 4 inches. A semiterrestrial
omnivore that must have access to a dry area, this species prefers
brackish conditions (about 1.005 specific gravity) and temperatures
of 75° to 80°F. It is native to the mangrove stands and estuaries of
Singapore and Hong Kong.
Other species of interest include the rusty crab Sartoriana
spinigera, Sri Lanka crab Sesarma sp., Papuan orange crab
Geosesarma sp., Papuan white crab Geosesarma sp., and the Xingu
crab Brachyura sp.
Bring Them Home
Freshwater invertebrates, especially crustaceans, deserve more
attention in the hobby. Their good looks, interesting personalities,
and generally straightforward care requirements make them easy
and fun animals to keep. With a little research and planning, you
can add one or more to your own collection. D