Devil crayfish are solitary animals, meeting with other individuals only during mating season. Females release pheromones, signaling their readiness to mate. These pheromones are detected by males through their antennules (short antennae). Males court females by touching them with their antennae and claws. Males deposit sperm into females' sperm receptacles during copulation, plugging them afterwards to prevent further mating.
Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)
This species reproduces annually, with breeding occurring predominantly in the fall. Egg-laying occurs in spring after temperatures have risen and photoperiods extend. All devil crayfish eggs are attached to the mother's pleopods for at least four weeks (the composition of the attachment is unknown). Females can lay up to 200 eggs, but only 10% typically survive past the first year.
Breeding interval: Devil crayfish breed once yearly.
Breeding season: Fall
Average number of offspring: 200.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous
While devil crayfish mate in the fall, they wait until the warmer spring temperatures to lay their eggs. After they have been laid, eggs are attached to the mothers until hatching via a hardened mass. After hatching, the larvae are in the first larval stage and firmly attached to their mother's pleopods, living an embryo-like existence. Even after molting into the second and third larval stage, the larvae still rely heavily on their mother because they are incapable of being freely living. However, after the second stage the larvae detach themselves from their mothers, although they return to her often. After molting into the third larval stage, young continue to stay with their mothers for protection until reaching full maturity.
Parental Investment: female parental care ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)
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- bibliographic citation
- Lui, A. 2013. "Cambarus diogenes" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cambarus_diogenes.html
- Anna Lui, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
- Jeremy Wright, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor