Endangered Species Details 


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Name:Cave Crayfish
Image:
Species:Cambarus aculabrum and C. zophanastes
Federal Listing:Endangered; April 7, 1987 (C. zophanastes).
Status:Stable
Information:

So little is known about Arkansas's two cave-dwelling crayfish that neither has a common name. Cambarus aculabrum exists in only two caves in northwest Arkansas, including Logan Cave NWR. C. zophanastes lives in a single cave in Stone County owned and protected by the Natural Heritage Commission.

Like so many cave animals, these crayfish are albinos, with no pigments coloring their white bodies. They live in cave streams and are extremely rare. No more than six C. aculabrum have been seen at one time. The population of C zophanastes is estimated at fewer than 50 individuals.

Groundwater contamination is the major threat to these crayfish. Scientists fear herbicides used to clear the right-of-way for an electrical transmission line near the Stone County cave could accidentally enter the cave stream, decimating the crayfish population. Three nearby industrial plants store petroleum products that could spill or leak into the cave. Subdivision growth around Mountain View could threaten water quality in the cave due to construction runoff, sheet wash and waste water from septic tanks. Until threats of contamination are eliminated , the continued existence of these species is suspect at best.