Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Daniel A Soluk


Restoration and preservation of habitat for threatened and endangered species can proceed in many ways. Augmentation strategies can be used to supplement threatened and endangered populations or the species and resources on which those imperiled species depend. Comprehensive knowledge of species movement and home range is necessary to formulate effective augmentation plans. For freshwater burrowing crayfish, this type of information is generally lacking. The studies reported here were designed to acquire detailed information that is essential for augmentation of the plains devil crayfish, Lacunicambarus nebrascensis (formerly, Cambarus diogenes). Although L. nebrascensis populations are not considered threatened, this crayfish provides vital refuge for the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana). Because the burrows created by L. nebrascensis are used by S. hineana to survive seasonal drying and overwintering periods; there is potential to enhance S. hineana habitat through L. nebrascensis augmentation. We tested the use of mobile and stationary PIT telemetry technology to track the movements of L. nebrascensis within S. hineana habitat (Chapter 1). This work demonstrated that L. nebrascensis could be tracked above and below ground and that the use of both stationary and mobile tracking equipment was necessary to recapture L. nebrascensis within different microhabitats. We investigated methods for the introduction of L. nebrascensis. In the laboratory, providing L. nebrascensis with a starter hole significantly decreased burrow initiation time (Chapter 2). This informed our field release trials where pit-tagged L. nebrascensis were released with a starter hole and a 24-hour acclimation period. Introduction treatment did not significantly impact the number of crayfish that relocated from their introduction point, and 64% of released L. nebrascensis burrowed within 3m of their introduction point. This indicated that a successful release into S. hineana habitat was possible. Our work establishes the functionality of PIT telemetry technology for tracking a primary burrowing crayfish species. We present a methodology that can be applied to introducing and tracking of other elusive fossorial species, which can aid in their own conservation or allow them to be used to improve available refuge space for other species that use their burrows.

Subject Categories

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Crayfish, Dragonfly, PIT Tag, Primary Burrower

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.