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Endangered crayfish research receives grant from foundation

Tallahassee, FL (October 31, 2019) – The nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida recently announced a $4,300 grant to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to study rare crayfish species native to two Florida springs: the big-cheeked cave crayfish (Procambarus delicatus) at Alexander Springs and the Silver Glen Springs cave crayfish (Procambarus attiguus) at Silver Glen Springs.

Little is known about the life history and ecology of these critically endangered species; they are among the rarest of Florida’s native species. The Silver Glenn Springs cave crayfish has less than two dozen recorded specimens, while the big-cheeked cave crayfish only has three official records. Thus, a presence study is required to determine if these crayfish still exist before trying to estimate population abundances or getting additional protections at the state or federal levels. Additionally, the project hopes to expand the limited knowledge of these two species with photographs and data describing habitat, body measurements, and behavior of captured individuals.

“We are dedicated to the conservation of Florida’s native wildlife and ecosystems, especially its springs,” said foundation president and CEO Andrew Walker. “This project enables us to better understand the rare and native species that rely on these unique spring ecosystems.”

Grant funding came from the “Protect Florida Springs” license plate containing the image of a scuba diver. $25 from each purchase of the springs tag supports the research, conservation and restoration of Florida’s freshwater springs. Grants were approved by the foundation board of directors at its September 30 meeting.

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