Cherax cuspidatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Malacostraca Decapoda Parastacidae

Scientific Name: Cherax cuspidatus Riek, 1969
Common Name(s):
English Cusped Crayfish
Taxonomic Notes: This species has been identified as representing two distinct taxons - Cherax cuspidatus and Cherax sp. nov (Munasinghe et al. 2004). The population which occurs from Brisbane to Coulondra has not been assessed (C.M. Austin pers. comm. 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-01
Assessor(s): Austin, C.M.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B. & Richman, N.
Contributor(s): 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.
Cherax cuspidatus has been assessed as Least Concern. This species, having a wide extent of occurrence of 29,313 km2, has few threats, and is found within several protected areas, although a small area of occupancy can be inferred. Furthermore, its tolerance of disturbed habitat and extended periods of drought, and its diverse range of habitats, means this species faces few threats in the near future. Monitoring the effects of invasive species should continue, however.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found only in coastal areas south of the Brunswick Heads, to Port Macquarie New South Wales, Australia. A subpopulation in Kingscliff is now thought to be extinct as repeated surveys have failed to find any individuals (C.M. Austin pers. comm. 2008). In a recent study this species was recorded from 26 sites, from the Brunswick, Clarence and Richmond River catchments, in addition to some minor coastal drainages (Coughran et al. 2008). It is further suggested this species may also be present within the Tweed River catchment where it was historically recorded (Coughran et al. 2008). Other historical records of this species further South toward Port Macquarie failed to yield any specimens in this recent study (Coughran et al. 2008), suggesting the range of this species may be contracting.

The extent of occurrence (EOO) of this species has been estimated to exceed 29,000 km2, although it must be noted this is based on a river basin assessment. Thus the area of occupancy (AOO) of this species is thought to much more restricted.  

Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are insufficient population data available for this species, although the highest densities of this species were recorded from heathland drains with high acidity (Coughran et al. 2008).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species has been collected from a variety of areas including sclerophyll forest, heathland and agricultural pasture (Coughran et al. 2008). Collection sites varied from dry gullies with sub-surface moisture to swamps, lakes and streams. This species seems very tolerant of anthropogenic disturbances, particularly those caused by agriculture, such as vegetation clearance, habitat disturbance and eutrophication (Coughran et al. 2008). Water temperatures of the habitat containing this species were recorded from 15-30oC (Coughran et al. 2008). This species was noted as being tolerant of drought, with some specimens surviving in locations which had been dry for over 12 months (Coughran et al. 2008). In fact, the majority of specimens were found in moist depressions under rocks or woody debris, devoid of standing or flowing water (Coughran et al. 2008). Individuals dig multi-chambered burrows, although it is noted that these burrows are not vital for survival, although availability of suitable borrow-digging substrate does not seem to limit population size or distribution (Coughran et al. 2008). Some individuals were collected from sites not connected to the water table or to a water course, and survived by burrowing into moist clay (Coughran et al. 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by coastal development (C.M. Austin pers. comm. 2008). The coastal area in which this species is found has been heavily urbanised. Conversely, further inland this species is regarded as tolerant to disturbance and widespread, with no threats associated with habitat destruction (Coughran et al. 2008). In addition no threats associated with pesticides or pollution have been identified. The most prominent threat to populations of this species is the presence of invasive native and alien species, including the Cane Toad Rhinella marina, the carp Cyprinus carpio and the plague minnow Gambusia holbrooki. In addition, an introduced crayfish, Cherax quadricarinatus, has demonstrated aggressive behaviour toward this species (McGrath 2005) and has the potential to extirpate this species from several sites.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs within several protected areas, including Broadwater and Richmond Range National Parks, Tyagarah Nature Reserve, and Camira, Cherry Tree, Lower Bucca, Mount Pikapene, and Sugarloaf State Forests (Coughran et al. 2008). This species is regarded as being of low conservation concern (Coughran et al. 2008), pending a more thorough investigation into distribution, threats and trends in population. Continued monitoring of the effects of invasive species, is advised.

Citation: Austin, C.M. 2010. Cherax cuspidatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T153642A4525660. . Downloaded on 23 May 2018.
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