Curator for Crayfish - Possible incorrect photo of Sooty Crayfish

Hi - this is the page for the now extinct Sooty Crayfish -

I plan to keep my eye out for it on Mount Diablo, never know, an extinct flower was discovered there end of 90s.

Anyway this is the source for the photo used:

Note that the caption for the image is “Astacus nigrescens fortis Faxon. Male. Type. Fall R., Fall City Mills Cal., Aug 29, 1898” (note that both Sooty and Shata were moved into genus Pacifastacus)

Asacus nigrescens fortis has been elevated to species status as Pacifastacus fortis

That linked page indicates the photo was used in a 1914 paper by Faxon, Walter

1914 is when a Faxon described the Shasta Crayfish (endangered but still extant)

Fall R. Fall City Mills is most certainly referencing Fall River, Fall River Mills in Shasta County - fed by the Pitt River which is the only place the Shasta Crayfish can still be found.

Anyway I have a suspicion the image of a “Sooty Crayfish” that iNaturalist is using is actually an image of the Type Specimen for the Shasta Crayfish.

Could a curator please look into this?

Just change the photo, that’s not a very big deal, especially if you see it’s a wrong one.

1 Like

May be a big deal, virtually any image search for that species brings up that photo. It’s used at many sites. And I am not an expert on crayfish, my suspicion is based solely on the information at the Freshwater and Marine Image Bank and knowledge that the Shasta Crayfish was described in 1914 by the same author who used that image.

To change an ID of a photo that if it is mis-identified, seems to be widely mis-identified, should not be done by someone like me who isn’t an expert on the topic.

In my opinion.

1 Like

It’s not a new situation if the photo is used wrongly, why shouldn’t you add an I’d you think is right? iNat is not a place where curators are somehow better than other users, create a flag for it if you wish.

Well it’s a philosophical difference I suppose. One of the reasons wikipedia has so many flawed articles is because people who mean well make changes that shouldn’t be made. It’s a serious problem I don’t want to be a part of here (or there) hence why I don’t want to make a change that could be incorrect.

Someone highly knowlegeable of crayfish may already know, or have access to the relevant paper (I don’t) first hand that the image was published in. The paper may tell a different story than I see. For example, the caption at the Freshwater and Marine Image Bank may be the actual mistake.

Anyway add a flag, that’s how you will find curators.


Thank you. Kind of new to iNaturalist and didn’t see there was a way to flag it there.

1 Like

You can access Faxon 1914 here:

Since the two photos aren’t labeled fig 1 and fig 2, one has to assume from the orientation of the page which one is which. Assuming the left-hand photo is fig 1, then the image is indeed of the (then) subspecies fortis (now P. fortis).

Have you read this paper? Kawai 2012 Re–examination of Pacifastacus nigrescens

And this one: Larson, Historical Biogeography of Pacifastacus Crayfi shes


You can change the photo by going to the far right of the bar that has taxonomy, maps, etc. and hitting the curation box. When that opens, there’s an option to edit the photos

Thank you for those references! Quite clear that photo is type specimen for Shasta Crayfish and not a sooty.

Hopefully my searches on streams of Mount Diablo (where I am primarily looking for remnant Rana boylii populations) will turn up a live one :D

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.