The gray-brown wild form of the orange dwarf crayfish Cambarellus patzcuarensis (CPO) originates from Mexico, where it is endemic (i.e. only found there) in Lake Patzcuaro. Due to massive environmental pollution and the use of foreign fish for food purposes, the ecosystem of Lake Patzcuaro is extremely disturbed, and a large number of the animal and plant species found there are unfortunately even threatened with extinction – among them Cambarellus patzcuarensis. The catch for aquarium keeping plays no role at all, commercial catches do not exist and the aquarium strains go back to very few individuals brought back by private expeditions, which completely excludes any impairment of the wild stocks from a scientific point of view.
The orange form, which is common in aquaristics today, originated in the aquarium and has been stabilized by appropriate breeding selection. It does not occur in the wild.
With usually 3 cm (male) and 3.5 cm (female) length, the animals are true dwarf crayfish. Only in rare exceptional cases they can reach a maximum length of 5 cm. At least the aquarium strains are also by far not as hide-addicted as most of the larger crayfish species and therefore often visible during the day. Because of their small size Cambarellus species cause little mess in planted aquariums and they can be socialized well with fish. Of course, one must limit oneself to small and peaceful species, which cannot be dangerous to the mini-crawfish even after molting, when they are still soft.
For our customers: CPO has code 481332 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer