April 12, 2021 by CC Staff

What Are the Most Common Types of Crawfish?: Our Guide

If you have ever lived in the South or even just visited, you have probably enjoyed some crawfish. Who could resist those delectable, incredibly tasty crustaceans? They’re popular in Louisiana, the biggest producer of crawfish, but a visit to Houston, Texas, and you’ll find some of the best crawfish restaurants that can compete with those from other cities!

 Unless you have taken a keen interest in crawfish, you probably don’t know much about it except that it looks spectacular plated and tastes even better. One of the most interesting things about crawfishes is that there are approximately 500 species of them in the world––400 of which live in the North American waters, and about 353 are found in the bodies of water in the US.

Let’s get to know some of the most popular members of the very large family of crawfishes:

 What Are the Most Recognizable Species of Crawfish?

 Red swamp crawfish and white river crawfish are perhaps the two most popular species of crawfish. In fact, roughly 90% of the harvest from Louisiana is made up of red swamp crawfish, while the white river crawfish makes up the rest.

 Red swamp crawfish is distinguishable from white river crawfish if you look closely. The former has two halves of their deep maroon carapace meeting and forming a thin line. They also have a pigmented vein found on their tail’s underside.

 Other Types of Crawfish

 While it’s not possible to talk about all the different species of crawfish, here are some of the other common types of crawfish that you might encounter:

 Signal Crawfish

The only native crawfish species found in Washington is the signal crawfish. It is identifiable by its uniform brown or blue-tinged color as adults. They also have a white band right at their claw’s joint or what is called the chelae. Juvenile signal crawfish have a drab brown shade, and their band is less noticeable. Also, the shell is quite smooth compared to other crawfish species.

 Northern Crawfish

 This type of crawfish is medium to large in size and can be distinguished from both the red swamp crawfish and the signal crawfish by their broad but flat tuberculate and claws. They even have an olive-brown coloring with some gradient dark brown, and their abdominal segments are spotted brown.

 Rusty Crawfish

 Rusty crawfish were found in the John Day River in Oregon in 2009, and it is not yet known to exist in other Pacific Northwest sites. Rusty crawfish has a rust-tinted spot on either side of its carapace close to its joint and abdomen. They also usually have black-tipped claws.

 Devil Crawfish

 Also known as thunder crawfish, coffin cutter, and the American mound-building crawfish, this species is found in burrows in low wet areas where the soil is of the clay variety. Some say the devil crawfish spends its life in burrows and leaves only to find a mate or release its young. They are typically found in the Mississippi River, in the waters of Ontario, Canada, and in the central Atlantic states. The Louisiana variety is often a dark-blue green with three red-orange stripes through the length of their tail. Their head also has some reddish highlights.


 At this point, you now know four common varieties of crawfish, though there are still many more. Although you don’t need to know about them to enjoy a platter of crawfish in a crawfish café, it sure is good to learn something about the crustaceans you love so much!

 If all that talk about crawfish got you hungry and you are looking for a good spot, visit Crawfish Café. We have been voted as the best place to get crawfish in Houston and have been featured in various publications. Get in touch with us today to have a taste of our Viet-Cajun crawfish!

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