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Systematic revision of the crayfish genus Lacunicambarus
The goal of my Ph.D. dissertation is to investigate the crayfish genus Lacunicambarus using molecular systematics methods and morphometrics. The most iconic member of this complex is the Devil Crayfish, Lacunicambarus diogenes (Girard 1852). Historically, all burrowing crayfishes that resembled the Devil Crayfish have been labeled as such. This lack of taxonomic resolution has led to the Devil Crayfish sensu lato being one of the most widespread crayfishes 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 actually have relatively small ranges and require differential conservation attention.
January 2019 update: My collaborators and I just published the description of a new species, Lacunicambarus chimera, that we split off from the Devil Crayfish, L. diogenes. In our paper, which is free to download from Zootaxa, we use both molecular and morphometric techniques to differentiate these two species. We also present all of the information we have about the ecology of this new species and discuss its coloration, range, and much more. A few more species that were previously lumped into the Devil Crayfish still need to be described before this complex is fully resolved. Stay tuned for more updates in 2019!
August 2018 update: My collaborators and I just published the first major findings of this taxonomic revision in the Journal of Crustacean Biology! We have made the following taxonomic changes: