Great Basin Naturalist


Crayfish distribution and composition in Utah are poorly documented. Based upon limited collections, the native Pacifastacus gambelii is widespread and often abundant in the Bear and Weber river drainages and is occasionally represented in smaller tributaries to the Great Salt Lake and to the Raft River. Pacifastacus leniusculus was collected from Utah County and Procambarus clarkii from Tooele County; the origin of these populations is not known. The nonnative crayfish Orconectes virilis is currently abundant in the Virgin, Price, and Duchesne river basins and the Glen Canyon, Flaming Gorge, Deer Creek, and Starvation reservoirs; it is expanding in Huntington North, Scofield, and Willard reservoirs. Further work is required to develop a more complete inventory and monitor the impacts on aquatic ecosystems of expanding nonnative crayfish populations. Surreptitious stockings can be dealt with only if the public is made aware of the adverse consequences of ill-conceived introductions.