crayfish


crayfish
/kray"fish'/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) crayfish, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) crayfishes.
1. Also called crawdad, crawdaddy. any freshwater decapod crustacean of the genera Astacus and Cambarus, closely related to but smaller than the lobsters.
2. any of several similar marine crustaceans, esp. the spiny lobster.
Also, crawfish.
[1350-1400; alter. (by folk etym.) of ME crevis < MF crevice < OHG krebiz CRAB1]

* * *

Any of more than 500 species of decapods that are closely related to the lobster.

Nearly all the species live in freshwater, and over half are found in North America. They have a joined head and thorax (midsection) and a segmented body that is yellow, green, red, or dark brown. The head has a sharp snout, and the eyes are on movable stalks. The exoskeleton is thin but tough, and the front pair of legs have large pincers. Crayfish are usually about 3 in. (7.5 cm) long but range from 1 to 16 in. (2.5–40 cm) long.

* * *

also called  crawfish  or  crawdad 

      any of numerous crustaceans (order Decapoda, phylum Arthropoda) constituting the families Astacidae (Northern Hemisphere), Parastacidae, and Austroastracidae (Southern Hemisphere). They are closely related to the lobster. Over half of the more than 500 species occur in North America. Nearly all live in fresh water, although a few species occur in brackish water or salt water.

      Crayfish are characterized by a joined head and thorax, or midsection, and a segmented body, which is sandy yellow, green, red, or dark brown in colour. The head has a sharp snout, and the compound eyes are on movable stalks. The exoskeleton, or body covering, is thin but tough. The front pair of the five pairs of legs have large, powerful pincers (chelae). There are five pairs of smaller appendages on the abdomen, used mostly for swimming and circulating water for respiration.

      Most adult crayfish are about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long. Among the smallest is the 2.5-cm-long Cambarellus diminutus of the southeastern United States. Among the largest is Astacopsis gouldi of Tasmania, which may reach 40 cm in length and weigh about 3.5 kg (8 pounds).

      Crayfish, common in streams and lakes, often conceal themselves under rocks or logs. They are most active at night, when they feed largely on snails, insect larvae, worms, and amphibian tadpoles; some eat vegetation. Crayfish mate in the autumn and lay eggs in the spring. The eggs, attached to the female's abdomen, hatch in five to eight weeks. The larvae remain on the mother for several weeks. Sexual maturity is achieved in a few months to several years, and the life span ranges from 1 to 20 years, depending on the species.

      The most common genera of North America include Procambarus, Orconectes, Faxonella, Cambarus, Cambarellus, and Pacifastacus. Austropotamobius, the most common genus of Europe, is the only one native to Great Britain. The genus Astacus occurs in Europe, the genus Cambaroides in East Asia.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • crayfish — [krā′fish΄] n. pl. crayfish or crayfishes (see FISH) [altered, by assoc. with FISH < ME crevise < OFr crevice < OHG krebiz: see CRAB ] ☆ 1. any of various families of small, usually freshwater decapods somewhat resembling little lobsters …   English World dictionary

  • Crayfish — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Rock Gründung 2001 Website http://www.crayfish.de/ …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • crayfish — early 14c., crevis, from O.Fr. crevice crayfish (13c., Mod.Fr. écrevisse), probably from Frankish *krebitja or a similar Germanic word that is a dim. form of the root of CRAB (Cf. crab) (1); e.g. O.H.G. krebiz crab, shellfish, Ger. Krebs. Modern… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Crayfish — Cray fish (kr[=a] f[i^]sh), n. (Zo[ o]l.) See {Crawfish}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • crayfish — a 16c alteration of an earlier word crevis (or crevisse), is the usual word in Britain for a small lobster like freshwater crustacean. Americans call them crawfish, and Australians and New Zealanders tend to abbreviate the word to cray (as in… …   Modern English usage

  • crayfish — ► NOUN (pl. same) ▪ a freshwater or marine crustacean resembling a small lobster. ORIGIN Old French crevice, related to German Krebs crab …   English terms dictionary

  • Crayfish — For the marine crustaceans commonly known as crayfish, see spiny lobster. Crayfish Temporal range: Mesozoic–Recent …   Wikipedia

  • crayfish — /ˈkreɪfɪʃ / (say krayfish) noun 1. (plural crayfish or crayfishes)→ lobster (def. 2). 2. (plural crayfish or crayfishes) Especially SA, NSW and Tasmania → rock lobster …   Australian English dictionary

  • crayfish — cray·fish (krā’fĭsh′) also craw·fish (krô’ ) n. pl. crayfish or cray·fish·es also crawfish or craw·fish·es 1) Any of various freshwater crustaceans of the families Astacidae and Cambaridae of the Northern Hemisphere and the family Parastacidae of …   Word Histories

  • crayfish — [[t]kre͟ɪfɪʃ[/t]] N COUNT (crayfish is both the singular and the plural form.) A crayfish is a small shellfish with five pairs of legs which lives in rivers and streams. You can eat some types of crayfish. Syn: crawfish …   English dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.