E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Faxonius virilis (Hagen 1870)
Northern Crayfish; Virile Crayfish
Family: Cambaridae
Photo of species

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #76949)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Faxonius virilis in British Columbia
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Species Information

Faxonius virilis, the Northern Crayfish, has a native distribution that extends from Alberta to Quebec in Canada, and across the northern states from Montana east of the continental divide to Maine in the USA. This species has been widely introduced across the continent, including to the states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana west of the Rockies. It has been introduced across southern Alberta from its native range in the Beaver River drainage of the east-central part of the province. It has also been reported as introduced to Europe. The introduction of this species may have a variety of ecosystem impacts including direct and indirect impacts on habitat, and competition with and displacement of native species.

Informal reports of crayfish in the Kootenays, east of the known range of the Signal Crayfish, have occurred in the popular outdoors press and on internet sites but without reference to any particular species. In 2014 and 2015, this author both collected and photographed specimens of the Northern Crayfish in the east Kootenays. It was documented at the following sites: 1) a pond 3.2 km SW of Grasmere, BC 2) Loon Lake, 1.8 km NW of Grasmere, BC.

There appears to be no reference in the formal literature to the occurrence of Northern Crayfish in British Columbia. The E-Fauna BC photographic documentation and specimens collected by the author, from the East Kootenays just north of the US border, would seem to be the first confirmation of this species in British Columbia.

The Northern Crayfish inhabits still to moderately flowing waters. Crayfish are most active at night, and require cover in the form of rocks, logs, or dense vegetation to provide daytime refuge from predators.

Note Author: Ian Gardiner

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Orconectes virilis (Hagen, 1870)

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-07-17 4:42:06 PM]
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© E-Fauna BC 2021: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC