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Crayfisch Astacus astacus.jpg
Astacus astacus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Astacidae
Genus: Astacus
Fabricius, 1775

Astacus (from the Greek αστακός, astacós, meaning "lobster" or "crayfish")[1] is a genus of crayfish found in Europe and western Asia, comprising three extant and four extinct, fossil species.[2]

Due to the crayfish plague, crayfish of this genus have been almost wiped out in Europe and have in many European countries been replaced by the North American signal crayfish, which is often more resistant to the plague.[3]

Extant species[edit]

A. astacus[edit]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution Description
Astacus astacus 01.jpg Astacus astacus "European crayfish", "noble crayfish" or "broad-fingered crayfish" France throughout Central Europe, to the Balkan Peninsula, and north as far as parts of the British Isles, Scandinavia, and the western parts of the former Soviet Union The most common species of crayfish in Europe, and a traditional foodstuff. Like other crayfish, A. astacus is restricted to fresh water, living only in unpolluted streams, rivers, and lakes. Males may grow up to 16 cm long, and females up to 12 cm.
Blausteinsee Tierwelt 05.jpg Astacus leptodactylus "Danube crayfish", "Galician crayfish", "Turkish crayfish", or "narrow-clawed crayfish" Caspian Sea region Imported and introduced to Central Europe in 19th century.
Astacus pachypus "Caspian crayfish" Caspian Sea, the Don river, and parts of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov Lives in salinities of up to 14.


  1. ^ Emmanuil Koutrakis; Yoichi Machino; Dimitra Mylona; Costas Perdikaris (2009). "Crayfish terminology in Ancient Greek, Latin, and other European languages" (PDF). Crustaceana. 82 (12): 1535–1546. doi:10.1163/001121609X12475745628586. Archived from the original (PDF proof) on 2011-07-21. 
  2. ^ Sammy De Grave; N. Dean Pentcheff; Shane T. Ahyong; et al. (2009). "A classification of living and fossil genera of decapod crustaceans" (PDF). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. Suppl. 21: 1–109. 
  3. ^ "Noble crayfish (Astacus astacus)". ARKive. Retrieved May 6, 2007. 

External links[edit]