Australian Aquatic Biological

Australian aquatic biodiversity research and consultancy

Cherax depressus from the Great Sandy National Park, Queensland

Cherax sp

Cherax depressus

Freshwater crayfish are amazing animals that are not restricted to aquatic environments.  Paul and I were driving through the Great Sandy National Park, Queensland and we discovered burrows in the grassy verges. Now finding the burrow is one thing, finding the grayfish is another thing all together.

The first step is to get out the spade and start digging. The burrows can go any direction and the trick is to keep following the burrow, so it’s a slow process taking small spadefulls at a time following the burrow down into the depths. The burrows basically ran along the surface at an angle and then went straight down to a chamber. Unfortunately most of the burrows went over the 1.5 metre deep and were beyond our capacity to excavate. Luckily, I have Paul with me and he is fearless with long arms so cramming his hand down into the burrow to feel and grab a snapping annoyed crayfish with your fingers is no worries for him.

Paul with his long arms down a burrow feeling for a critter

Paul with his long arms down a burrow feeling for a critter

 

Lying on the ground, stretching down with your shoulder in the hole can yield some great results

Lying on the ground, stretching down with your shoulder in the hole can yield some great results

 

Paul peering down the hole. A lot of work, heaps of effort and no results again

Paul peering down the hole. A lot of work, heaps of effort and no results again

We can dig down and reach in up to 1.2 m, then use a yabby pump to suck critters out another 600 mm or so but most of the older burrows are over 2m deep so the critters are beyond our reach without major excavation.

We spent a bit of time attempting to identify relatively new burrow systems that the animal had not had time to dig a deep burrow and we were successful in finally getting critters to identify what they were. The specimens that emerged conformed with the current description for Cherax depressus. We currently have all the Queensland Cherax species under review so this may well change in the future.

 

 

 

Research & Aquaculture Director for Australian Aquatic Biological P/L
Team Leader for The Australian Crayfish Project
Director of Mid West Yabby & Fish Traders and RBM Aquaculture
Secretary of NSW Aquaculture Assoc Inc
Research Associate for Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Honorary Research Fellow, Queensland Museum

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