NEW SPECIES FOUND?! Rare Blue Crayfish!


– One, two, (grunts). – [Mark] Oh man, the
water’s seepin’ in. – Oh, I got one, I got one! Holy mackerel! There it is! (adventure music) There’s a famous song that goes “Country roads take me
home, to the place I belong, “West Virginia.” and on this adventure
we will be following an old gravel country road that will hopefully
take us to the place that one very rare
creature calls home. This is West Virginia. First time I have ever
filmed in this state. Many creatures we
can come across. Now it’s just a matter of
taking this gravel path further into the
wilderness and then we’ll break trail
into the underbrush and see what we can find. Are you guys ready? – [Mark] Let’s do it! – All right, let’s go! Today we are working alongside Field Herpetologist Tim Brust, who has spent many
summers researching the various creatures
that call this wild and wonderful state home. And while he specializes
in reptiles and amphibians, today we are after one
incredibly elusive crustacean, that for now we will simply
call the blue crayfish. This is cool. We have a little
stream system that is moving right through the
middle of the forest. It’s actually a
great place to look for small woodland
frogs and salamanders. Look at this. Most of the time
you imagine crayfish living in streams and rivers. However, the species we
are searching for today, is a variety of burrowing
crayfish that lives underground. They can be found in
areas known as seeps, which are defined as a wet place where ground water reaches
the earth’s surface from an underground aquifer. Similar to the fully
aquatic crayfish species, the burrowing crayfish
also hides under rocks, so it was just a matter
of flipping the right one. So, Tim, this is what’s
considered seepage. Here, Mark, take a look at this. See all this water? Here just in this low spot? – [Mark] Yeah. – This is actually seeping
out from the hillsides, right? – [Tim] Yep. – So, Tim tells me that
this rock right here is a great example of
something we should flip that may have a
crayfish underneath, and I can see this is all
real moist right here. You see all this water? It looks like we’re
just on leaves, but you peel the leaves
back, and you’ve got water. So, there could actually be
a crayfish under this rock. Oh, there’s a lot
of water there. I guess I just put
my hand in there and see if there’s
anything in it. Oh, there’s definitely
a burrow right there. Oh, but no crayfish. All right, let’s keep going. From rock to rock we searched, gently flipping each one, and placing it right back
in the exact same spot, so that we did not alter the
design of the environment. Oh, jeez! – [Mark] Woah what is that? – [Coyote] That’s a
huge, slimy salamander! Oh, and it is slippery. Ooh, c’mere! – [Mark] Got it, got it? – I got it! Yes! Wow, that is an enormous
slimy salamander! That’s probably the biggest
one I have ever seen. Now, they’re called
slimy salamanders because they excrete a slime
from their skin that’s almost like a a slug,
it is very, very sticky. Let me turn you like this. Are you gonna stay up
on my fingers there? Wow! That is a giant salamander! Much bigger than the salamanders
that we catch in Ohio. Look at that cool patterning. Almost looks like the spots
of a spotted salamander. Now this is a lungless
salamander species, they actually breathe
through their skin. So, I don’t wanna
handle it for too long, you can see I’m trying
not to actually handle it like grasp onto it, because I don’t want to
take moisture from its skin. But, just handling it a tiny bit and my fingers are
extremely sticky. Now, one cool thing
about salamanders is that they can actually,
well, most varieties, can detach their tails. It’s called caudal autonomy, the same thing that lizards
are capable of doing and that helps them
escape from predators, and then that tail
will rejuvenate itself. What a great find! It’s not a blue crayfish but, still pretty cool to
get this salamander up close for the cameras. I’m gonna dip it in water,
place it back under the rock, and we’ll keep
searchin’, sound good? – [Mark] Great start! – All right, here we go! (lighthearted music) Here, come here
and check this out. Oh, come on! Oh, I got one! – [Mark] Do you? – I got one. Yes! But it’s not blue. It’s a crayfish
but its not blue. – [Mark] Okay let’s squat
down and take a look. – Oh, he’s rearin’
up with those claws! Look at that. Ah! Oh, man, every time! Yep, he’s just holdin’
on with those pinchers, ooh, the next pincher’s
about to pinch me too. All right, little buddy. I appreciate that. Can you uh, call ahead to some
of your cousins who are blue? That’s what we’re
really lookin’ for. I knew I was gonna get pinched. Man, that is one cool
little crustacean though. A little fossorial crayfish. All right, back under the
rock with this crayfish. We’re gonna continue searching. You can flip rocks for hours
and come across nothing. But that’s what makes it fun, because there’s always
going to be another rock, and all it takes is
flipping the right rock to uncover a jewel
of the wilderness. I’m telling you guys,
you are not gonna believe how blue this little animal
is until you actually see it. Actually this rock right here, before we walk past
it, looks perfect. – [Tim] That’s a huge rock. – [Mark] I think you can
do it, Muscles, come on! – Oh, man. I don’t think can do this. – [Mark] You’ve been
hittin’ the gym. – I don’t think I
can lift that one. – [Mark] That’s a two-hander. – That’s a weird beetle. Let me just see it and
see if its possible. – [Mark] Oh yeah. – Yeah, that’s
gonna be a whopper. – [Mark] Do it! – That’s a big rock right there! All right here we go, I’m
gonna lift it, you ready? One, two, three. (grunts) Oh, I got one, I got one! Holy mackerel! There it is! – [Mark] Woah! – That is a blue crayfish! – [Mark] I told you it would
it would get better rock. – Heavy rock, and it paid
off with a blue crayfish. Look at that thing! Okay, I’m gonna leave this
rock positioned just like this. – [Mark] Okay let’s
come over here. – Let’s back up to the trail. Wow! – [Mark] Yeah, this
is good, this is good. – Look at that! Can you believe how
blue that crayfish is? Hold on. I’m gonna
turn it like this and kinda hold it by its tail. There it is, the sapphire of
the West Virginia hillsides. It is so blue, I
can’t believe it. It is as blue as the sky is. Look at that crustacean. That must be the coolest looking
crayfish I have ever seen. Now, this is a species
that is subterranean. Which means that they have
burrows that can go down as deep as eight feet
under the ground, and they will come up into
those little pools of water underneath the rocks
to search for food. These crayfish do not
grow to be very large. This is about average
size and it is a female, and the way that I can tell that is by looking at its underside. It does not have these
little kind of grappling legs underneath there where,
if it was a male, would be used to
grasp on to a female, and I can also tell that this
one has a regenerated claw. If you didn’t know
this, most crustaceans, especially crayfish are
capable of losing claws and then they regenerate them. So, this claw right here
is a little bit smaller than that claw,
so at some point, a predator likely
tried to eat it, it dropped its claw and
then it managed to escape, and now that claw
is growing back. – [Mark] So I heard
that these crayfish, they can actually
drown in water. So if you found one of these, you wouldn’t wanna
release it in the stream. – No, they go in water,
their burrows oftentimes are filled with water,
but they have to keep coming to the
surface to breathe. Now, they do have gills,
just like aquatic crayfish but those gills allow
them to breathe air, so you may be
wondering to yourself, “Coyote, don’t you
need to put this thing “back into the water? “Is it gonna suffocate by
being out in the open air?” No, not at all. This crayfish is
breathing right now. – [Mark] So, Coyote, we
actually need to get some data while we’re out here, correct? – That’s right. It is possible that this
is a new sub-species of this crayfish. There are two recognized
species and it is possible that this one could be a third. So what we’re gonna do is take some really detailed
photographs, and mark the GPS coordinates,
and you never know, this may be a completely
newly discovered crayfish. How cool would that be? – That would be awesome. Do you think they’ll
let us name it? – Ooh, maybe, and if
we were able to name it I would call it the
sapphire crayfish because in my opinion,
this is a lost jewel here in the hillsides
of West Virginia. Coyote Pack, what
do you guys think? The sapphire crayfish? I like it. Well I would say it was a
pretty epic adventure today. We flipped over many rocks. We found salamanders. We found a brown crayfish, and then of course the
last, largest rock, revealed to us this
little blue beauty. I’m Coyote Peterson,
be brave, stay wild, we’ll see you on
the next adventure. The blue crayfish is one of
the most uniquely colored animals we have
ever come across. Its elusive nature and
subterranean dwelling made it difficult to find. But in the end, the long
search was completely worth it. As of the release
of this episode, this sub-species of
crayfish has officially been classified as
a new discovery, and is in the process of
being described by scientists. And, when it comes
to the common name officially becoming
the sapphire crayfish, well, that’s still
up for debate, and we are told there’s a
chance it may actually happen. So, I’ll continue to
keep my fingers crossed. If you thought a brilliant
blue crayfish was incredible, make sure to go back
and check out another brightly colored creature of the West Virginia
mountainsides, the cave salamander. And don’t forget, subscribe, so you can join me and the crew on this season of
Breaking Trail. Woo!

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