Two new species of burrowing crayfish in the genus Lacunicambarus (Decapoda: Cambaridae) from Alabama and Mississippi
While sampling for the Rusty Gravedigger, Lacunicambarus miltus, Taylor et al. (2011) found one or more potentially undescribed burrowing crayfish species in the genus Lacunicambarus inhabiting the area between the Pascagoula River and Mobile Bay in southern Alabama and Mississippi. Molecular analyses by Glon et al. (2018) confirmed that samples from this area were genetically distinct from other Lacunicambarus crayfishes. These findings prompted a dedicated sampling trip in January 2020. We used morphological and molecular analyses to investigate the specimens we collected and, based on our results, we describe two new crayfish species: the Lonesome Gravedigger, L. mobilensis sp. nov. and the Banded Mudbug, L. freudensteini sp. nov. Lacunicambarus mobilensis sp. nov. is sister to the Rusty Gravedigger, L. miltus, while L. freudensteini sp. nov. is sister to the Painted Devil Crayfish, L. ludovicianus. Both new species are currently known from a small number of sites in southern Alabama and Mississippi and may require conservation attention. In addition, we provide an updated key to Lacunicambarus crayfishes that includes these new species.