Researchers Discover 2 New Species of Crawfish in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (KPEL News) - Good news, crawfish fans: Two new species of mudbug have been discovered in the U.S.
The bad news? Put the pots down, y'all. It appears they are only able to live and grow in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Science announced these two new species - Cambarus lapidosus, the Stony Fork crayfish, and Cambarus burchfielae, the Falls crayfish - which were discovered in "niches of neighboring streams, each draining off the Blue Ridge Mountains."
According to Bronwyn Williams – Research Curator of Non-molluscan Invertebrates at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and co-author of a new paper in Zootaxa – these new species can only be found in the upper Yadkin River basin in North Carolina. They are both considered narrow-range endemics, meaning they are highly restricted in their geographic ranges and thus acclimated to specific environmental conditions. This distinction likely makes them species of conservation concern.
So, it's pretty likely you won't get to taste them, given that they don't really grow outside of this one highly specific region and there simply are many of them out there. But it's always cool to learn about new specifies of Louisiana's favorite bug (least favorite probably being mosquitos or love bugs, depending on where you are).
However, discovering and naming the species is actually extremely important, according to Williams, the researcher who co-authored the paper on the two new species.
“Taxonomy is essential to effective conservation,” Williams noted in the release from the Natural Science Museum. “If a unique biological entity does not have a formal name, it is not eligible for the resources necessary to manage and protect it.”
To be honest, it is kind of exciting that we're still able to discover new species of anything. The amount of research that is being done on a nearly-constant basis means we can still look forward to new (and potentially tasty) discoveries.