Have you ever heard of a burrowing crayfish? We hadn’t, until our much-smarter-than-us friend, Dr. Wayne Gall, shared the story of how he discovered one particular species living in western NY 30 years ago - Cambarus diogenes - the Devil Crayfish.
Wayne invited us to join him on a hunt for this species, to see if it was still present at Tifft Nature Preserve, three decades later.
Now, we invite you to come along with us, braving deep mud, crayfish pincers, and audio challenges (Tifft is lousy with the sound of trains, barges, and jets overhead). Along the way, Wayne proves himself a consummate storyteller, spinning the yarn of amazing coincidences that led to his connection with this species and publishing research about its presence in New York. We also give some visitors to the preserve a good scare.
A big thank you to Wayne for his time, expertise, and persistence. This episode may be shorter than usual, but we want you to know that Wayne spent hours with us at Tifft, his arms buried in the mud up to his shoulder, searching for our target species.
This episode was recorded at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NT on August 30, 2018.
Download Wayne’s paper: Gall, W.K. and Jezerinac, R.F., 1998. Commensal ostracod (Ostracoda: Entocytheridae) provides evidence for the postglacial dispersal of the burrowing crayfish, Cambarus diogenes (Decapoda: Cambaridae), into western New York. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, 36, pp.203-213.
During the episode, Wayne wonders if more populations of the Devil Crayfish have been discovered in NY since his paper was published in 1998. According to this recent report by the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, no new populations have been located, and Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is still the most easterly site located in NY State.
Thank you to listener Joe Stormer for graciously transcribing this episode.