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Phylogenetic revision of the devil crayfish (Cambarus diogenes) species complex using molecular systematic methods and morphometrics
The goal of this project is to investigate the devil crayfish (Cambarus diogenes) species complex using molecular systematics methods and morphometrics. The most iconic member of this complex, and arguably the most iconic North American burrowing crayfish, is the devil crayfish, Cambarus diogenes (Girard 1852). Historically, all burrowing crayfishes that vaguely resembled the devil crayfish have been labeled as such. This lack of taxonomic resolution has led to the devil crayfish sensu lato being the most widespread crayfish in North America. However, it has long been suspected that the devil crayfish represents a species complex and in recent years, a handful of species have been described from within this complex. Further teasing apart the devil crayfish complex is important because some of the species within it may have limited ranges and serve important ecosystem functions, therefore requiring conservation attention.
As of summer 2017, I am in the processing of collecting representative specimens of these subgenera from as much of their range as possible. I am also supplementing my field collections with specimens obtained from museum collections such as the Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity.