A guide to Australia’s Spiny Freshwater Crayfish
The “NEW BOOK” will hit the bookshop in July 2012
Australia is the lucky country with the three largest freshwater crayfish species in the world. The largestis the Giant Tasmanian Freshwater Crayfish (Astocopsis gouldi), next is the Murray Lobster (Euastacus armatus) and then the West Australian Marron (Cherax cainii).
This publication refers to Australia’s Euastacus Crayfish which are the largest of the 10 genera of Australian freshwater crayfish. We cover the full 50 Euastacus species found in Australia, from the iconic giant Murray Lobsters (Euastacus armatus) that are recreationally fished to the exceedingly rare tiny species, like Euastacus maidae from the NSW/Qld coastal border region. These uniquely Australian mainland crayfish range from Cooktown in far north Queensland to Wilsons Promontory in Victoria, the southernmost point of the Australian mainland. Many are found in or around major population centres, making them well known to many people. For example, Euastacus spinifer and Euastacus australasiensis are found throughout the Sydney region. Euastacus yarraensis is found around Melbourne and Euastacus sulcatus from the outskirts of Brisbane.
They are referred to as the “Spiny Crayfish” due to impressive arrays of spines on their hard armoured shells. Most species are very colourful with their spines in highlighted colours that enhance their size and shape. Owing to their unique colouration, wide distribution and in many cases impressively large size, these species are of interest to a huge section of the community.
The giant spiny crayfish are the pinnacle for crayfish enthusiasts and I have always had a passion for crayfish and have spent my life either catching them for pets or growing them commercially. For over 20 years I have made a living by culturing both Cherax and Euastacus crayfish commercially. All my time and efforts over that period have been devoted to making a living from the aquaculture of crayfish. Aquaculture is not for the weak, it’s a tough life with small profit margins. When I started little known about freshwater crayfish aquaculture, so I had to learn as I went and just about every mistake that could be made, I made. Over the years, with the help of the researchers and crayfish gurus from around Australia, I eventually learnt the recipe for success in crayfish farming and my farm prospered. Now I have sold the farm and have the time and resources to follow my passion for freshwater crayfish and I am investigating all of those species that this continent has to offer.
The Australian Crayfish Project (ACP) was conceived to increasing the knowledge base on all our Australian crayfish species and the promotion of the conservation and protection of these crayfish and their fragile habitats. Over the years I have come across numerous species that were undescribed and unknown by the authorities and there seemed to be huge gaps in the most basic knowledge of so many of these unique native species. We are extremely lucky in Australia, there are vast areas of State Forests and National Parks that offer perfect refuges for our native crayfish and we are still discovering species that have never been seen before. With the help of scientists, researchers and enthusiasts the ACP is investigating and recording knowledge of all of our crayfish species.
This book provides the most up to date information collected over the last seven years as part of the ACP on the species, their identification, biology and distributions. Many of these species are in desperate need of protection and conservation management and we hope you will share our concern and add your voice to help protect and conserve them for all eternity.