Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Donald Tarter

Second Advisor

Dan K. Evans

Third Advisor

Ralph W. Taylor


This thesis is the first extensive investigation of West Virginia's crayfishes since Newcombe (1929) surveyed the state's fauna 50 years ago. Records, collections, and specimens were obtained from the 7 drainage areas of the state. Crayfish were collected from early spring through the fall of 1978. Both aquatic species and burrowers were included in the study. Presently, seventeen species and subspecies are known to exist in West Virginia. The genus Cambarus contains 10 of the total species of which three are primary burrowers. Cambarus nerterius, from the cavernous Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties of the Greenbrier River drainage, is the state's only known troglobitic crayfish and is endemic to West Virginia. Six species and 1 subspecies of aquatic crayfishes represent the genus Orconectes. Newcombe (1929) reported 11 of the present species (14 species for the taxonomy utilized at that time). Since his survey, 6 species have been added through discovery and range extensions. The distribution of some native species was also found to be more extensive than recorded by Newcombe (1929). Two state records and 27 county records were found during the study period. Orconectes virilis and o. rusticus are new for the state. Apparently, the state's crayfish fauna has not suffered to any great extent from environmental stress as other aquatic organisms have since earlier times.


Crayfish - West Virginia.