Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas G. Jones

Second Advisor

Charles Somerville

Third Advisor

Ralph Taylor


Introductions of non-native crayfish species have resulted in the global decline of native crayfish populations, including those in North America. The last large survey of crayfishes from West Virginia was in 1988 and 1989. In this thorough document Raymond Jezerinac, Whitney Stocker, and Donald Tarter identified three separate areas in West Virginia where non-native crayfish species have been introduced. One area is located in the Potomac River drainage in northeastern West Virginia commonly referred to as the eastern panhandle of the state. This is also the only drainage in West Virginia where the native spiny cheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus) occurs. A survey of this area in 1988 and 1989 resulted in the capture of 14 O. limosus individuals and an abundance of the non-native virile crayfish (O. virilis). In 2005 and 2006, crayfish were collected from streams within the West Virginia portion of O. limosus range, including locations where previously documented captures had occurred. The absence of O. limosus and abundance of O. virilis in the surveys conducted indicate extirpation of populations from this portion of its range. These data along with similar accounts of invasive crayfishes in West Virginia including the rusty crayfish (O. rusticus) and decline of native crayfish populations prompted surveys in each drainage where invasive crayfishes have been documented in West Virginia: The Potomac River drainage in northeast West Virginia, the New River Gorge National River and tributaries, and the Kanawha/Ohio River and tributaries. Results from the three study areas suggest non-native crayfishes are actively expanding their range and displacing native crayfish populations in West Virginia.


Crayfish - West Virginia.

Crayfish culture - West Virginia.