Crawfish (also known as crayfish, crawdads and mudbugs) typically live in fresh water. However, they can also be found in ditches, swamps and rice paddies. They mate usually in spring and do not reach puberty until the age of 5 to 8 years old.
The female holds hundreds of eggs under her long swimmeretes, which is an appendage on the female crawfish adapted for swimming and carrying eggs. The eggs hatch in 2-20 weeks and have the same structure as an adult crawfish. They leave the mother’s protection in about 2 weeks and are very tiny, which makes them susceptible of being eaten. Crawfish reach adult size in 3-4 months and its life span is 3-8 years long. Once they reach maturity, they seek out a mate and the crawfish life cycle begins all over again.
The life cycle of a crawfish plays an important role in the food chain. They are the predator as well as the prey. They can be eaten by fish and other aquatic mammals, not to mention humans.