Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Shadow Knows

Can you tell what the shadow knows? I've darkened it to make it more visible. Scroll down for the answer.

I thought I'd look up the latin name and mention it here.

Then I found out that there are 83 different kinds in Alabama.

So I said, "Forget that."

Because they all look more or less exactly alike.

OK well not really, but almost.

And I am not that dedicated.

Not enough to plow through a lengthy key.

Especially when the subject in question slipped away after only a couple of blurry, non-diagnostic photos.



Check out that right claw.

I got really tickled reading the common names of some of the Crayfish of Alabama.

First of all, nobody here really calls them that. It's crawdads to you, bub. Even crawfish suggests that you're just putting on airs.

There are a few normal, descriptive names:
Bigclaw Crayfish
Boxclaw Crayfish
Twospot Crayfish

But several of them sound awfully sinister:
Phantom Cave Crayfish
Devil Crawfish
Rusty Grave Digger (Ooh!)

And some are considerably more evocative than you'd expect, for crawdads:
Lavender Burrowing Crayfish (Really? Lavender?)
Cajun Dwarf Crayfish (Napoleon complex)
Depression Crayfish (The Sad Sack of Crayfish)
Lagniappe Crayfish (With free gift!)
Ambiguous Crayfish (Maybe I'm a crayfish, maybe not)
Ditch Fencing Crayfish (Tiny épées at 20 watery paces!)


Anonymous said...

Back in my St. Louis boyhood, we called them crawdads. But here in Kansas City I was corrected by a man who grew up in Pass Christian, Louisiana who insisted their proper name is crayfish. But he sucks their brains out after boiling them, so . . .

Rurality said...

Well, sure, if you're gonna get all proper on me... :) My brother says you must suck the heads. I have to admit that I've never even eaten one.

(BTW, Pass Christian - what's left of it - is in Mississippi, not Louisiana.)

Dave said...

Great list! I'm Smorgasblogging it.

We have problems with invasive crayfish here in PA, released from bait pails, I guess. And we're not talking aliens from another country, or even another state, simply crayfish from the Ohio drainage infecting the Susquehanna.

Belle said...

I like your blog content. I have a link to it on my blog.

Interesting about the crawdads, neat research. I just did some research on tomato hornworms for my future post.

Back later..

Anonymous said...

I guessed it! Yay me!

Those names are nifty. They have the same air as some of the common names of dragonflies, but I think there was an actual committee came up with a lot of the latter. (Unusually creative, for a committee.)

Thanks; this is a great post.

I thought they called them "mudbugs" in Louisiana. Or "ecrivisse." Of course you gotta suck da heads and squeeze da tails.

About invasive exotic crawfish: there's one here, the signal crayfish, that has wiped out the endemic species, sooty crayfish, in Strawberry Creek here in Berkeley. And the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is crawling with Louisiana red swamp crayfish, to the detriment of the natives there. I mean, I'm sure they're tasty; in fact, I know they're tasty; I've had some. But dang. Crawdads are something you want to like unconditionally. They're just so cool and personable when you meet 'em.

And tasty when you etoufee' them.

robin andrea said...

I had no idea. I thought there was only one kind of crayfish (crawdad). Well, I've just learned something new today, and a whole lot of silly names to go with it!

Rose Connors said...

When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, the only name I knew them by was pinch crab. I was so surprised to learn that a crawfish is more like a lobster than a crab.

Rachel said...

We always called them crawdads. Never knew they had so many other strange names as well!!

Jenn said...

"You get a line, I'll get a pole, honey
You get a line, I'll get a pole, dear.
You get a line, I'll get a pole,
We'll all go down to the crawdad hole..."

I so can't remember the rest.
HeLLO girl scouts.

R.Powers said...

I am inordinately fond of crawfish...alive not as a menu item. Crustaceans just fascinate me.
I have a blue one out in an aquaculture tank right now.

Rurality said...

Thanks Dave! Now I really feel like I've arrived. :)

Thanks Belle. If you can train the local birds to eat your hornworms, you'll have a lot fewer problems...

Ron, I did a similar post on butterfly names (and Hans Christian Andersen) last year. Yeah, yeah, mud bugs! Love that.

RA & Rachel, I had no idea either... just found it all when I went looking for the latin name. I swear I've learned more from writng a blog than from school. Not that I'll remember any of it, of course.

Rose, I like that name too!

Jenn, I was somehow deprived of that song in Girl Scouts. I still know all the words to "Barges" however.

FC, blue? Oh what pretty babies that one would have with the lavender one...

I hadn't heard about invasive alien crawdads before... seems like those would be almost impossible to get rid of.

lisa said...

Love those crawdads! I have a lot of them amongst the rocks in the Menominee river that runs by my house...I love to toss in fried chicken bones and watch them fight over them. The other day, a large snapping turtle came up and beat them all to the prize-cool! In the spring, the turtles bury their eggs in a sandy spot in my yard. Raccoons dug them all up this year, but I have been lucky enough to witness hatchings in the past.The babies are very cute!

Rurality said...

Ooh, I'm going to have to try that trick the next time we have chicken!