Benton County Cave Crayfish

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Read more about the listing in the Federal Register here

View the 1996 Recovery Plan and the 2008-2013 5-year review.

To learn more about the karst environment, visit our Caves and Karst page.

Benton County Cave Crayfish (Cambarus aculabrum)
Status: Endangered
Listed: April 27, 1993

For more information on the Benton County Cave Crayfish, contact Mitch Wine at mitch_wine@fws.gov or 870-269-3228.

Species Facts:
The Benton County Cave Crayfish is a small (1.8 inches) white crayfish with reduced eyes. Almost nothing is known about the life history of this species, and only limited observations have been made. They most likely rely on outside sources of organic matter for food such as leaf litter, dead animals, or bat guano. Population numbers appear stable, although they fluctuate wildly between surveys; due to the extreme difficulty of conducting surveys, total population numbers are almost impossible to estimate.

Habitat Summary:
The Benton county cave crayfish is a rare aquatic organism adapted to living in clean cave springs, and is found only in four caves in Benton County, Arkansas. It was initially found in only two caves: Bear Hollow Cave and Logan Cave, approximately 23 miles apart. One of the caves is federally owned as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System while the other is privately owned. Two more cave populations were discovered and genetically confirmed as Benton County cave crayfish in 2006. It is found along the walls of pools or stream edges in chert-limestone cave stream systems. Substrate doesn’t seem to play a role in habitat selection, as one researcher found individuals on silk, gravel, rubble, bedrock and even under trash.

Why is it Endangered?
Water contamination by sewage, animal waste, residential developments, landfills, petroleum products, ammonia fertilizer, heavy metals, organic chemicals, and pesticides can be lethal to crayfish. Using liquid animal wastes to fertilize pasture lands in recharge areas (areas where surface water flows into groundwater) can also cause water contamination when the fertilizer is improperly applied or if heavy precipitation follows application. Also, physical disturbance (including trampling) from humans entering caves or removal by collectors also harms this species.

For more information on how water moves in a karst environment, visit our Caves and Karst page.

View the 1996 Recovery Plan and the 2008-2013 5-year review.

Range in Arkansas:

Arkansas Field Office
110 S. Amity Road
Suite 300
Conway, AR 72032

501/513 4470 (v)
501/513 4480 (f)

Last Updated: December 30, 2015

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