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    In this Encyclopedia of Life podcast, Ari Daniel Shapiro describes the long, strange trip of the red swamp crawfish—from Louisiana bayous to European waterways to Chinese rice paddies.


    Listen to this short (6-minute) podcast, and follow along with the downloadable transcript. Think about the circumnavigation of the red swamp crawfish, and then answer the questions in the "Questions" tab.

    1. Red swamp crawfish are native to freshwater streams and bayous in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Today, they are found in freshwater habitats all over the world. According to this podcast, where else can the red swamp crawfish be found?

      Answers will vary! In North America, the red swamp crawfish are still found in Louisiana, and were introduced to Costa Rica. They were also introduced to many countries and regions in Europe, including Spain, France, and Scandinavia. In Africa, they were introduced in Kenya and Nigeria. In Asia, red swamp crawfish were introduced in Japan and China.
    2. Why was the red swamp crawfish introduced to all these places?

      The red swamp crawfish is an important source of food. Crawfish are eaten locally and exported for profit.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    bayou Noun

    swampy backwater of a river or lake.

    Encyclopedic Entry: bayou
    circumnavigate Verb

    to go completely around something (usually the Earth).

    crawfish Noun

    crustacean resembling a small lobster. Also called a crawdad or crayfish.

    crustacean Noun

    type of animal (an arthropod) with a hard shell and segmented body that usually lives in the water.

    fishery Noun

    industry or occupation of harvesting fish, either in the wild or through aquaculture.

    freshwater Adjective

    having to do with a habitat or ecosystem of a lake, river, or spring.

    introduced species Noun

    a species that does not naturally occur in an area. Also called alien, exotic, or non-native species.

    rice paddy Noun

    rice field.

    waterway Noun

    body of water that serves as a route for transportation.