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Euastacus kershawi

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA PARASTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Euastacus kershawi
Species Authority: Smith, 1912
Common Name/s:
English Gippsland Spiny Crayfish, Spinybacks

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-06-01
Assessor/s: Coughran, J., Furse, J. & Lawler, S.
Reviewer/s: Collen, B. & Richman, N.
Contributor/s: Livingston, F., Livingston, F., Soulsby, A.-M., Batchelor, A., Dyer, E., Whitton, F., Milligan, H.T., Smith, J., Lutz, M.L., De Silva, R., McGuinness, S., Kasthala, G., Jopling, B., Sullivan, K. & Cryer, G.
Justification:

Euastacus kershawi has been assessed as Least Concern (LC). This species has a large distribution, with an extent of occurrence of  approximately 20,000 km2, and can be found from close to sea level up to altitudes of 250 m above sea level. However, although it currently has a wide distribution, it is impacted upon by threats such as harvesting and invasive species. Further research is needed to determine the impact of these on the population.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Australia. It ranges from Gippsland, Victoria, to 80 km east of Melbourne, a distance of approximately 320 km (Morgan 1986). In addition this species is found south of the Great Divide, from just south of Mt. Hotham in the Wongungarra and Wonangatta Rivers, to the coast (S. Lawler pers. comm. 2008). This is a lowland species that can be found from close to sea level up to altitudes of 250 m above sea level, and its long, narrow distribution cuts across several drainages in eastern Victoria (Morgan 1986). However, the species is morphologically invariable across its lowland range, and there is no information to suggest any level of fragmentation across its range. The estimated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of this species is around 20,000 km2 (J. Coughran and J. M. Furse pers. comm. 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Victoria)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In a study conducted from 1987 to 1996, 1063 individuals (with 102 individuals recaptured at least once) were collected in the Bunyip and LatrobeRiver systems (Morey 1998). This species is regarded as common within its range, and there is no evidence of increase or decline (S. Lawler pers. comm. 2008).  Barker (1992) recorded variable catches, a lack of reproductively active specimens, and variation in maximum size across different sites.

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in southerly flowing streams in eastern Victoria. The vegetation along the banks is commonly wet or dry sclerophyll forest, and the species also persists in areas cleared for agriculture providing riparian vegetation remains intact (Morgan 1986). It is a very slow-growing species (Morey 1998). This species is regarded as very tolerant of disturbed or absent riparian vegetation (S. Lawler pers. com. 2008).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species is susceptible to the effects of climate change, particularly with regard to altered hydrological regimes and severe weather events. Climate change modeling predicts that southeastern mainland Australia will experience a warmer and drier climate, leading to decreased runoff and soil moisture (Chiew and McMahon 2002, Howden 2003). This is a large species of Euastacus, which is susceptible to fishing pressure (J. Coughran and J. M. Furse pers. comm. 2008). Heavy amateur fishing and land development have severely reduced its range in rivers near human settlement, such as the LatrobeRiver (Morgan 1996). Closures on the recreational fishery appear to have had no effect, and evidence of illegal poaching is common (Morey 1998).  Recreational fishing (in particular the taking of large adults) has the capacity to lead to serious and far reaching impacts on population structure, such as the stunted population phenomenon (Huner and Lindqvist 1985, Tulonen et al. 2008), and impairment of reproductive success in females (Tulonen et al. 2008). Failure to adhere to fishing regulations has resulted in this decline (S. Lawler pers. comm. 2008). Furthermore, some exotic fishes such as the Brown Trout and Redfin Perch are prevalent throughout the region and might pose a potential threat (J. Coughran and J. M. Furse pers. comm. 2008). 

Land clearing is regarded as the biggest threat to this species, although this species is much more resilient than other species of the genus (S. Lawler pers. comm. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no species specific conservation measures in place for this species. The spiny crayfish fishery was closed in Victoria from 1983 until 1991 (Barker 1992). The current fishery for spiny crayfish is managed through a minimum size limit of 90mm OCL, closed seasons and areas, and a bag limit of five per person per day (only one of which can exceed 120mm OCL) (DPI 2007). Only three of the 11 Victorian species (E. armatus, E. bispinosus and E. kershawi) attain 90mm OCL, so the regulations may increase pressure on these species. Barker (1992) found considerable variation in catch rates and sizes across different sites, and failed to record any specimens above the minimum size limit at one site. Research should be extended to include an assessment of population genetics, biological and life history information, habitat requirements, investigations into thermal tolerance and resilience to exotic species.  

This species is found in the Alpine National Park, south of the Great Divide (S. Lawler pers. comm. 2008). 

Citation: Coughran, J., Furse, J. & Lawler, S. 2010. Euastacus kershawi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 April 2014.
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