REFERRING to the notice in NATURE, vol. xxi. p. 454, of M. Malakhoff's memoir on Ural Crayfish, you will perhaps allow me, a resident among the foot-hills of the South-Western Urals, space for a few words. Astacus leptodactylus is found in most of the streams here, in some abundantly. The variety is that in which the cephalo-thorax and chelæ are studded with tubercles, and is accurately represented in Prof. E. Ray Lankester's Fig. 2, in NATURE, vol. xxi. p. 354. I have one before me at the present moment from a tributary of the River Bielaia, measuring five inches in length, and this is the average size. I have never seen the mountain variety mentioned in M. Malakhoff's paper. His remark that “in the Ural the natives call the freshwater Unio Rak (Ecrsvisse) and the true crayfish Rak-ryba (l'Ecrevisse poisson)” does not apply to this district, for hei e the latter is called simply “rak” and the unio “rakovitza” and “rakovina” indifferently, general terms for a mullusc and its shell. Various opinions exist in reference to the quality of the flesh. For my own part I find it extremely insipid, and I believe any Englishman eating it for the first time would be of the same opinion; but the inhabitants of the country, who have, of course, no opportunity of tasting fresh marine Crustacea, rather esteem the flesh. Englishmen staying here a long time often grow to like it in default of anything better, till I verily believe in some cases they leave the country praising it as a delicacy. This may be one of the ways in which the diverging opinions respecting its. quality have originated.
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TWELVETREES, W. Ural Crayfish. Nature 22, 10 (1880). https://doi.org/10.1038/022010b0
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