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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 10:50 EDT

European Crayfish

The European Crayfish (Astacus astacus), also known as the Noble Crayfish or Broad-fingered Crayfish, is the most common species of crayfish in Europe, and is a traditional delicacy. Like other crayfish, the European crayfish is restricted to fresh water, living only in unpolluted streams, rivers and lakes. It is found from France throughout central Europe, to the Balkan peninsula, and north as far as parts of the British Isles, Scandinavia, and the western parts of the former Soviet Union.

The European Crayfish is nocturnal and feeds on worms, aquatic insects, mollusks and plants, spending the day resting in a burrow. They become sexually mature after 3″“4 years and a series of molts, and breed in October and November. Fertilized eggs are carried by the female, attached to her pleopods, until the following May, when they hatch and disperse. The main predators of this species, both as juveniles and adults, are mink, eels, perch, pike, otters, and muskrats.

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European Crayfish