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

Zachary J. Loughman

Fourth Advisor

Shane Welch


The natural life history of Cambarus (Puncticambarus) smilax, the Greenbrier Crayfish, was studied in West Fork of the Greenbrier River and in Thorny Creek, a tributary of the main stem of the Greenbrier River. The Greenbrier Crayfish gets its name from the Greenbrier River watershed where it is thought to occur exclusively. Among described members of the subgenus Puncticambarus, C. smilax is a sister taxon most similar to Cambarus (Puncticambarus) robustus. Monthly collections were made within the two study sites, from August 2010 to July 2011. Collecting techniques included dip-netting, seine-netting, and hand collecting. Cambarus smilax and all other species of crayfish found within the sites were recorded with sex, molting status, and reproductive status. Data collected from C. smilax specimens including weight, total carapace length (TCL), and chelae length. All gravid females collected were preserved in a 70% ethanol solution; fecundity and length of offspring were recorded in the lab. Seasonal breeding and molting showed a positive correlation and were synchronous with C. robustus populations studied by Hamr and Berrill (1985), Corey, S. (1990), and Guiasu and Dunham (2001). Habitat selection analysis indicated competition between C. smilax and Cambarus (Hiatacambarus) chasmodactylus, where C. chasmodactylus partially excludes C. smilax from the principal habitat found in runs. The limited range of C. smilax makes it a species of special concern and a candidate for protection.



Crayfish culture - West Virginia.