The European, noble or broad-fingered crayfish measures up to 16 centimetres long. The female is larger than the male. The body is covered with a strong carapace, which is dark brown in colour, sometimes with greenish highlights that change periodically. It has five sets of walking legs, and the first set has characteristic claws. The crayfish also has very long antennae.
The crayfish lives in streams, rivers, freshwater lakes and marshes. It can be found throughout Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia.
The crayfish is active at night and hides in holes along river banks or beneath stones during the day. It walks forwards but swims backwards, using its oar-like tail. The female carries her eggs under her tail. The crayfish is omnivorous, feeding mainly on aquatic plants but also on larvae, worms and carrion.