This is a red swamp crayfish, also called Louisiana red crayfish. We saw this crayfish at the Bugs Alive exhibit this past Friday at the Milwaukee Public Museum.
Red swamp crayfish are native to the gulf coast states and the Mississippi river, but they got introduced to other places in North America like the Pacific states and Ontario, Canada, and they are causing some problems there. Some people like to eat red swamp crayfish. Scientists use it as a study animal.
This crayfish is a dark red color. It has four antennae and two big pincers.
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In Louisiana we certainly do eat crayfish, only we call them crawfish. They are delicious when fried or boiled. We only eat the tail meat, although some people like to “suck the heads.” The heads of boiled crawfish have been cooked in all the same delicious spices as the tails, so really, folks are just sucking some flavored water out. I think that’s disgusting, but I do love the tails! If you have ever eaten shrimp or lobster, the meat of a crawfish tail has a very similar texture.
Another interesting thing about crayfish is that some people call them crawdads. I like eating shrimp, so maybe I’ll try crawfish sometime.