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Marion High School Field Biology: Fall 2005

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Over the course of a few days we caught and counted the population of crawdads at Hannah Park. Once we caught the crawdads they were counted and the left antennae was clipped the first day, on the second day the right antennae was clipped. Many of the crawdads caught were from 1 to 3 inches in size. The most common crawdad size was 1 1/2 to 2 inches.


What is a Crawdad?

Crawdads are crustaceans that are typically freshwater dwellers. They are usually a reddish brown color and have a thorax and segmented body. To protect themselves from predators they have pinchers and a hard outer shell. Their pinchers are strong and also help them capture food. Their food source is fish. They are mainly found under rocks and in rapids. They easily blend in with the rocks so it's an ideal location for them. The typical size of a crawdad is 10-20cm. Crawdads swim backwards and use their tails as propellers. Female crawdads also use their tails to carry their eggs. The eggs turn a reddish-orange color when they are about to hatch. When crawdads are first hatched they are white in color and have a soft shell. Eventually their shell will develop and they will become less vulnerable.


How to Catch a Crawdad

To catch a crawdad you need a small net and a bucket. Once you have your small net and bucket you have to know where to search for them. They are usually found in the rapids and underneath rocks in the water. After you've spotted the crawdad in the water you want to go behind it with your net and swoop it up into it, then place it in the bucket. The reason you go behind the crawdad is because they swim with their tails in a backward motion.






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Ashley Murray
Fall 2005