The ecology of primary burrowing crayfishes is poorly understood, especially for high-elevation species. An ecological study of Cambarus (Jugicambarus) dubius (Upland Burrowing Crayfish) was conducted at Terra Alta, Preston County, WV (elevation 781 m). The study sought life-history information including size at sexual maturity, age cohort designation, and age estimation. The density and distribution of burrow portals of C. dubius were examined within and near seeps in forested and disturbed habitats. Data were also collected on intraspecific usage of burrows by commensal species. Size at maturity did not differ significantly for males and females. The average age of C. dubius was 1.5 years, and the oldest individuals were estimated at 7 years. Form change of C. dubius occurred synchronously within the population, a phenomenon not previously documented with primary burrowing Cambarus. Burrow portals had highest densities within 5 m of the center of seeps in forested habitats, but reached highest densities between 10 and 25 m from the center of seeps in disturbed habitats. Many commensal species of invertebrates and vertebrates used C. dubius burrows, data that demonstrates a community-level contribution of C. dubius. Information from this study represents most of the available ecological data from the northern range of this species, and is directly relevant for management and conservation of high-elevation populations of C. dubius.
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