Australian Aquatic Biological

Australian aquatic biodiversity research and consultancy

Springbrook National Park, Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland.

Late December 2012 we had an expedition along the McPherson Range and into Springbrook National Park in Queensland. This was the first of a series of surveys in south eastern Queensland and northern NSW. We are specifically surveying for Cherax and Euastacus crayfish but are recording all crustaceans captured. Paul and I surveyed all the popular tourist areas within Springbrook National Park as well as some of the more unusual areas.

Paul and I camped at The Settlement campground which was quite pleasant.

Paul and I camped at The Settlement campground which was quite pleasant.

The weather was less than perfect and finding our way through the forest was less than easy.

The weather was less than perfect and finding our way through the forest was less than easy.

 

Paul catching Euastacus sulcatus in Purling Brook.

Paul catching Euastacus sulcatus in Purling Brook.

Photo Euastacus sulcatus

The streams in Springbrook national park were full of Euastacus sulcatus. This E. sulcatus from the Tallebudgera Creek drainage had juveniles under her tail.

Photo the Lamington Crayfish Euastacus sulcatus

This male Euastacus sulcatus from the Little Nerang River was out at night and we spotlighted large numbers of Euastacus during our night time surveys.

Photo Sphagnum Frog (Philoria sphagnicola)

Frogs were common throughout the area, not sure what this is. Perhaps a Loveridge’s Mountain Frog (Philoria loveridgei) from Tallebudgera Drainage at 800m. If anyone can let me know what it is that would be great.

 

Frog photo

Larger frogs liker this were common at night in the Little Nerang Drainage at 750 m.

Photo Dragonfly

Dragonflies were also common around the streams and rainforest.

Photo Euastacus maidae

Paul with an adult Hinterland crayfish Euastacus maidae.

Our surveys of Springbrook National Park and the McPherson Range was extremely enlightening and we will revisit the area for more intensive surveys in the future. Our thanks to the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service for all their help and assistance with our preliminary surveys.

An expedition into the upper Clyde River system

 

Euastacus frehswater crayfish were abundant in the upper Clyde River

In October 2012 we conducted a survey of the upper Clyde River with the priority being to determine the freshwater crayfish species present within the upper catchment. It is currently unknown which freshwater crayfish species occur in this pristine and mostly inaccessible area. Our survey aimed at filling this knowledge gap and also record the other species present within the upland creeks and swamps.

The survey team. From the left: Rob McCormack; Hugh Jones; Paul Van der Werf; David Crass

The survey was a team effort with a group of us getting together to find and survey as many watercourses in the area as possible. The team consisted of;

David Crass – Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority

Hugh Jones – Office of Environment and Heritage

Rob McCormack – Australian Aquatic Biological and Australian Crayfish Project volunteer

Paul Van der Werf – Earthan Group and Australian Crayfish Project volunteer

Hugh scooping and Paul photographing the catch in a tributary of the upper Clyde River

Hugh scooping and Paul photographing the catch in a tributary of the upper Clyde River

The area of interest is entirely within the Morton National Park and with the aid of Libby Shields and Rob Perry who are the local National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers for the area we gained access to the whole park which has a series of maintenance roads through it. It was very fortuitous that we could gain access as it would have taken us ages to cover the area on foot. Libby told us some of the roads were currently impassable but we had Hugh Jones at the wheel of his Toyota troop carrier and though some of the roads proved extreme they were all passable for Hugh and his V8 diesel troop carrier.

Hugh at the wheel of his car with Paul beside him. The roads were extreme.

Hugh at the wheel of his car with Paul beside him, I was hanging on in the back taking this photo and waiting for it to roll. The roads were extreme but Hugh got us out and back safely.

Unfortunately, they were far too extreme for both Pauls and my Great Walls so we left them discarded along the side of the track and loaded into Hugh’s beast for an exciting 4 wheel drive adventure. We came within millimetres of rolling the troopy in a pothole at one point but Hugh ground us up and out of what we described as a bomb crater. Much of the area we were surveying was part of the old bombing range and there were signs up everywhere warning of unexploded ordinance.

Paul and my Great Walls were no match for the rough roads and we were lucky to have Hugh’s Toyota for the extreme roads.

The upland streams in the area were relatively cold being 9-12⁰C and very low pH (4-5) without much biodiversity. The upper streams were without fish though they did occur at lower altitudes. We were unable to find any shrimp, crabs, snails or mussels but both macro invertebrates and tadpoles were common and freshwater crayfish were abundant in many of the larger streams. The area was pristine and a tribute to the NSW National Parks for the management and protection of the area. This survey is part of a series of the area and a report on our findings will be submitted to the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority and we are thankful to them for assisting with funding for our surveys.

Blue Mountains Tree Frogs (Litoria citropa) were common in the area

 

 

 

Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the Setose Yabby, Cherax setosus

Jason and I have been researching the setose yabby for some time now. This is one of the four terrestrial type Cherax crayfish that occur in Australia and it is part of a series of research projects on these four species (Cherax rotundus, Cherax sp. nov., Cherax punctatus and Cherax setosus). All these species prefer terrestrial habitats and display heavy setation on the lateral propodal surface of the claws.

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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.

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Photographing Euastacus hystricosus

The upper Brisbane River

The upper Brisbane River

Euastacus hystricosus is Queensland’s largest giant spiny crayfish species. It is a crayfish covered in numerous sharp spines that grows to a huge size. Found in the upper reaches of the Mary and Brisbane rivers, the ACP has been researching this amazing species.

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