chapter  18
The Crayfi sh of Middle America
ByFernando Alvarez, José Luis Villalobos
Pages 16

Middle America, herein taken as Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Cuba, has a crayfi sh fauna composed of 61 species of the family Cambaridae, grouped in three genera (Cambarellus, Orconectes, and Procambarus) and one introduced species (Cherax quadricarinatus) that belongs to the family Parastacidae (Table 18.1). The distribution of species by country shows that 56 species occur across Mexico, two in Guatemala, one in Belize, one in Honduras and four in Cuba; one of these species (Procambarus pilosimanus) occurs in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, while another one (Procambarus williamsoni) is in Guatemala and Honduras. The three cambarid genera recorded for the region occur in Mexico, whereas only species of Procambarus are present in the other four countries. Their regional diversifi cation is seen in the distribution of number of species, as it decreases from north to south, a pattern that is consistent with the hypothesized origin of the Cambaridae in the southeastern United States and the subsequent colonization of areas to the south in Mexico, and Central America (Hobbs 1984, Hobbs 2001).