A Critter Few have seen in Humboldt

This my fellow Humboldt Co. residents is a crayfish.  It and at least one other fellow lives in a pond in Salmon Creek.  I think they’re natives but I’m open to correction on that. This one was about 6 inches long not counting his whiskers.



  • amazing!
    as a kid in the 1960’s i would never have imagined seeing one of those anywhere in humboldt but i guess the spring and summer weather would make it possible.
    they used to ne all over the central valley and delta system in tuolumne,stanislaus and san joaquin but only a few mutants have survived.
    kym, glad i was guided to your site-WONDERFUL photos and tidbits of info.
    i thoroughly enjoy your posts.

  • James Stutsman



  • David, thank you very much. It’s been a bleak couple of days where I’m wondering whether what I’m giving up to write the blog and other pieces is worth it. Kind words like yours help.

    James, My dad used to see them in Trinity County a lot not that long ago.

  • Kym,

    I don’t think that one is a native. It looks like the species introduced from the south east part of the U.S. I’m not 100% certain about that though. I know when I did the juvenile salmonid surveys on Lower Salmon Creek in 2002/2003 I was seeing a very small olive one that is supposed to be native.It’s claws were teensy and it was lightning fast. The one you have there looks like the start of a gumbo soup. How about I grow the Okra this summer and you throw down some crawdads and we’ll make a party out of it!


  • When I first came here (40 years ago yesterday!) I often saw them in the South Fork. Things have changed dramatically in the river and I have not seen them in a long time. The ones I saw were red as were the ones we used to catch and eat on the Umpqua in Oregon.

  • We wont tell cecil

  • Pacifastacus is the genus of our native species? When I was operating downstream migrant traps in South Fork Eel tributaries I often caught them. Otters love to eat them.

  • I’ve seen them in ponds around the Mateel watersheds years ago. There are tons of them in the headwaters of the South Fork of the Trinity by Forest Glen, Hell’s Gate[Hell Gate?] campground. Every one I’ve seen was red, but I think their color is dependent on their diet.

  • I had fish and game at my property a couple of years ago. When we saw one in Redwood Creek, they told me they were not native and not good companions to native fish species.

  • When I was in Salmon Creek many years ago, over 30, my son claimed he saw a crayfish. I thought he was imagining things, but I wasn’t sure. Now I am pretty sure he was right. He is 40 now. Should I tell him?

  • That picture is Orconectes virilis. Them things are about as native as pampas grass, starlings, and Argentinian ants.

    Folks seeing them 30 or 40 years ago is not out of the question as they were introduced as live bait 50 years ago. They were invasive then, they are invasive now.

  • They didn’t seem nocturnal which the virilis is supposed to be but maybe they were having a day out on the beach.

    Can’t tell species apart with diurnal vs. nocturnal.

    They do seasonal phase-inversion for food. They are about to go nocturnal, give them a month.

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