iLabs: Our Newest Addition — CRAYFISH!!! And a Visitor Question about them
We have new creatures in the Micro World iLab!!! Crayfish!! We had wanted to add them to our pond tank, part of the whole “cycle of life” thing, but on the advice of our aquatics professionals at the museum, we opted to have them in a separate tank. (Apparently the crayfish would tear up the tank’s plants, eat the snails, dig up the gravel and eat our fish, so….)
However, to come back to things, do come visit and check out the crayfish. Our aquatics people did a beautiful job setting the tank up for us! :) Kudos to them.
And of course, the crayfish seem eager to put on a visual display for our visitors as well. We had them a few days and already, they molted!!!
This timely molting today yielded our newest Visitor Question: How often do crayfish molt?
One website says 6-10 times the first year, less the next year, and their life span is short, less than 2 years.
Yahoo Answers website adds: “it depends on their age. i got my latest crawfish at the beginning of may and he just molted today. if the are very young they can molt once every few weeks. but as they get older they molt less often, usually only a few times each year”
And the Fish Site says it takes approximately 11 molts to reach maturity. After that they molt much less often.
This matches my experience with raising fiddler crabs — the younger they were, the more frequently they molted.
If you are interested in raising crayfish, here are some resources:
- The FOSS website for teachers has a great summary of information on raising and keeping crayfish as does the eHow website.
- To make your own crayfish habitat, here are instructions from another eHow page.
- The Fish Site has a great summary of crayfish biology
And do come see our new additions to the Micro World iLab! They are fascinating to watch.