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Type: Article
Published: 2023-04-20
Page range: 207-230
Abstract views: 634
PDF downloaded: 36

Integrative taxonomy reveals two new narrowly-endemic crayfish species (Decapoda: Cambaridae) from the Yadkin River Basin in western North Carolina, USA

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; 645 Fish Hatchery Road; Marion NC; 28752
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences; Research Laboratory; 1671 Gold Star Drive; Raleigh NC; 27669
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; 645 Fish Hatchery Road; Marion NC; 28752
Crustacea biodiversity Blue Ridge Mountains Appalachian Mountains Cambarus robustus Cambarus species C species complex


Two new species of stream-dwelling crayfish, Cambarus lapidosus, the Stony Fork Crayfish, and Cambarus burchfielae, the Falls Crayfish, are described from the Yadkin River basin in western North Carolina, USA, using an integrative taxonomic approach consisting of morphological, genetic, and biogeographic data. Both species were previously considered to be members of the widely distributed Cambarus species C complex, which occurs throughout mid-Atlantic Slope river basins; however, they are in fact morphologically and genetically more similar to the Cambarus robustus species complex from interior basins in the south-central Appalachians, indicating Atlantic basin stream capture of an Interior basin faunal group has occurred in this region. Both new species described herein can be differentiated from these two complexes, and each other, by several morphological characteristics. Cambarus lapidosus and C. burchfielae are differentiated from C. species C by the absence of cervical spines and the presence of 1–2 subpalmar tubercles on the chelae in most specimens; both species are less-punctate across the areola than C. aff. robustus. Cambarus burchfielae is further differentiated from C. lapidosus, C. species C, and C. aff. robustus by the presence of a narrower and sparsely punctate areola, a single weak row of tubercles on the mesial margin of the palm, and the absence of tubercles on the dorsal surface of the dactyl. The newly described species are genetically sister taxa and together are most similar by genetic distance to undescribed members of the C. robustus species complex from the nearby (~30 km) Watauga River basin and most phylogenetically similar to C. aff. robustus from the adjacent New River basin; both are interior basin drainages. The newly-described species are endemic to the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and have restricted distributions (<100 km2–150 km2) in small (<4th order) tributaries to the Yadkin River. Cambarus lapidosus is known only from the upper Stony Fork watershed and C. burchfielae is known only from the upper reaches of the adjacent Lewis Fork watershed; both species likely qualify for conservation status protections under narrow geographic range criteria.



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