Orconetctes rusticus is an aggressive, invasive, destructive type of crayfish, commonly known as the Rusty Crayfish.
The Orconetctes rusticus is an invasive species to Michigan, New York, New England, Minnesota and Utah. Invasive means not from that area and causing harm to the native environment. It would be like one of us going to the bottom of the ocean and saying; “I like it here, I just need to make a ‘few’ changes” and then destroyed the seabed. (That is an exaggeration, who would do that anyway?)
Orconetctes rusticus is native to southern Indiana northern Kentucky and all of the Ohio River Basin. It lives in fresh water lakes, streams, creeks and places like that. Rusties are eaten by the fish in its native habitat.
Rusties have big claws with dark tips; they are pretty much all big compared to the native species, more aggressive too. They have rusty colored spots on their sides like you picked them up with paint on your thumb and trigger fingers. They feed on aquatic plants. In some lakes these aggressive creatures are so bad people don’t swim in the waters anymore. I know why too, it hurts, a lot, I tried to catch one and it more or less caught me.
The rusty crayfish was brought by fishermen as live bait and were released into the rivers of Minnesota and spread like wild fire, the same thing happened in New England and Utah. Rusties destroy the native plant beds, kill native fish and displace or kill the native crayfish. They cause swimmers not to swim any more. There is no scientific way to get rid of them, not without harming the natives. Otherwise saying, there is nothing scientifically we can do. But we can fish. Yep I said fish. Rusties are good to eat and are definitely plentiful here. In Michigan, you can catch an unlimited amount of them as well as every other state they are invasive.
So grab a line, some ham, and a fishing pole and let’s get started!