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Cherax papuanus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA PARASTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Cherax papuanus
Species Authority: Holthuis, 1949

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-06-01
Assessor(s): Austin, C.M.
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:
Cherax papuanus has been assessed as Vulnerable under criterion D2. This species is known from a single location (Lake Kutubu) which covers an area of 49 km2 although it is unlikely to cover this entire area as the lake reaches a maximum depth of 70 m. It is possible that this species range extends a little further but it is not thought to be much greater. This species forms a major component of the local fishery, however there is no known evidence to suggest that it is declining at present. There is clearly some concern that rates of harvest of a number of other fishery resources are unsustainable as efforts are being made to start managing the fishery sustainably. There is also concern over future increases in human population pressures around the lake, which could prove to be detrimental to the survival of this species considering its restricted range. At present lake water quality is good, however there is ongoing oil and gas exploration in the area which could prove detrimental to both the lake and this species. Monitoring of threats, and population trends of this species is needed to determine how effective measures are in reducing the impact of threats on the population.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Lake Kutubu in Papua New Guinea. The area of the lake is approximately 49.24 km2. This species may be more widespread, although it is not thought to occupy a significantly greater area (C.M. Austin pers. comm. 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea (main island group))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information available for this species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in Lake Kutubu, which is located at an altitude of 850 m above sea level. The area of the lake is 49.24 km2. The water of Lake Kutubu is clear, and the lake reaches a depth of 70 m. It is fed by several streams, but much of the inflow water comes from underground sources (WWF 2001). The lake is famous for its high level of endemic fish species, and the water quality within the lake is good (D'Cruz 2008).
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species may be harvested as a food source (D'Cruz 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The development of the Lake Kutubu Oil Project has undoubtedly impacted the water quality within the region. Siltation as a result of mining activity, road construction and deforestation are likely to pose a threat to this species. Furthermore, potential oil spills and introduced species could pose a significant threat to the lake species (WWF 2001). In a programme monitoring the subsistence fishery on the lake, crayfish were found to comprise 35% of the total catch (approximately 5,800 individuals a day) (D'Cruz 2008). It also notes a decline in the fish stocks of the lake, however it is unclear whether this is a result of the petroleum development or over-fishing. There is some concern over increasing human population pressures upon the lake's resources, though local awareness projects have been established to teach the local villagers the importance of sustainable harvest (C.M. Austin pers. comm. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species, however it is indirectly protected by a number of other conservation measures. Lake Kutubu has RAMSAR designation as a "Wetland of International Significance". The lake is also located within the Lake Kutubu Wildlife Management Area (240.57 km2) and the Kikori River Basin - Great Papuan Plateau World Heritage Site. Furthermore, the WWF Kikori Integrated Conservation and Development Project aims to promote sustainable use of natural resources within the catchment.

Further research on the distribution and threats to this species is needed to determine if it is in fact more widespread, and what impact threats have had on the population numbers.

Citation: Austin, C.M. 2010. Cherax papuanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 September 2014.
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