Paranephrops is the only freshwater crayfish genus in New Zealand. Juveniles could at first glance be mistaken for Paratya shrimps, but only Paranephrops have large chelipeds (pincers) on the first pair of walking legs. Mature Paranephrops are many times larger than Paratya shrimps.
Paranephrops are widespread in streams and lakes around New Zealand. They are usually found amongst the shelter of stones, woody debris or weed beds.
They are omnivores, eating mostly plant matter, but also eating invertebrates when they get the chance.
Paranephrops are common in bush covered and farmland streams of moderate to good water quality. They have moderate to high tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 8.4 (soft bottom sites).