Animals -> Freshwater Invertebrates -> Crayfish


Crayfish are reported to have been consumed by the Onondaga; nevertheless they were not very popular given the small amount of meat they provided. Usually only the tails were used, which were skinned and fried. When salt was available they could be salted, skewered and roasted. They were also boiled in soup, or added to stew with wild onion, leek and seasoned with pepper and salt. Crayfish were also placed under a dying fire to bake and were then cut open and eaten [1]. The crayfish species consumed was not specified, but several species were likely to be encountered by the Onondaga, including, for example, the large and widespread robust crayfish.


1.         Waugh FW: Iroquois Foods and Food Preparation, vol. No. 12; Anthropological Series. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau; 1916.

Crayfish represent one of the few groups of freshwater crustaceans and most closely resemble marine decapods like lobsters. In North America, the robust crayfish (Cambarus robustus) most often found along rocky bottoms of shallow water, is a well-known representative of one of the most widespread and diverse group of freshwater crayfish. They most commonly occur west of the Great Plains and are most abundant in southeastern United States.


Thorp JH: Field guide to freshwater invertebrates of North America In. Edited by Thorp JH, Rogers DC. Bonston: Academic Press; 2011: 274.


Images provided below were obtained from: Encyclopedia of Life. Available from
Robust crayfish
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network
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