The crawfish is a fresh-water, lobster-related, crustacean that populates rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes of the world. There are only 3 families of Crawfish worldwide, two of which can be found on the North American Continent. However, no place on Earth hosts the diversity of species that can be found in our Southeastern states, all belonging to the family, Cambaridae. Procambarus clarkii, known in my childhood as red devils or red daddies, is the most common and resilient native to our Southern area.
Like all species on the planet with the exception of one, crawfish play an important role in the ecosystem. They are predators as well as cleaners, consuming both living and decaying animals and vegetation. They are a crucial food source for a wide range of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. For humans, they are a healthy, delicious and accessible meat source that can literally be found in many backyards and roadside ditches across America.
Crawfish are edible. I know, most people in the world know this but what many of you may not know is that they are damn good! I would eat a crawfish about any way they're served but my favorite dishes are crawfish etouffe and crawfish pie. I have still not found a place to get the etouffe but recently I discovered the best damn crawfish pies in town! It's a Tuesday Fresh Market Vendor by the name of Vivian and she operates Vivian's Cajun Crawfish Pies. Until you've had one of her pies, you're just missin' out.