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Euastacus balanesis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA PARASTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Euastacus balanesis
Species Authority: Morgan, 1988

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-06-01
Assessor(s): Furse, J. & Coughran, J.
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 balanesis has been assessed as Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii). This species has an estimated extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 km2, and a severely fragmented distribution. A decline in the quality of habitat has been inferred from the presence of exotic species which are known to impact suitable habitat and predate on crayfish. This species is also thought to be taken incidentally by poachers perhaps due to misidentification. While parts of its range coincide with national parkland, conservation measures need to focus on assessing the abundance and the key threats to this species before appropriate conservation measures can be devised.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Australia. It is known from the Atherton Tablelands and Bellenden Ker Range in North Queensland. The species inhabits highland rainforest areas (Morgan 1988), more than 700 m above sea level (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008). Its extent of occurrence is less than 5,000 km2 (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Queensland)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:

There are no population data available for this species. It is not an abundant species. Morgan (1988) was only able to collect 6 specimens from across its entire range. A recent (October 2008) targeted survey in one area (the type locality) only produced a similar number of specimens (Coughran 2008a unpublished data).

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits waterways in cool, rainforested areas (Morgan 1988), including gullies and small streams (Coughran 2008a unpublished data). Although the species occurs in a number of streams, these are headwaters of various different drainages, on different mountain ranges, and therefore the species distribution is clearly fragmented (Morgan 1997; Ponniah and Hughes 2006).

The slow growth rate and low fecundity of many Euastacus renders them less resilient to reduction in population numbers through habitat destruction and catastrophic events (Van Praagh 2003).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although this species occupies a relatively wide distribution (including national parks), it is susceptible to over-exploitation, climate change, predation by Cane Toads and other exotic species. Although technically protected by recreational fishing regulations, this rare species may be susceptible to over-exploitation by collectors (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008). Climate change, through increasing global temperatures, alterations to hydrological regimes, severe weather events, loss of suitable rainforest habitat and increased potential for bushfires could alter this species distribution (Hilbert et al. 2001; Chiew and McMahon 2002; Howden 2003; Hughes 2003; Pittock 2003; Hennessy 2006; Westoby and Burgman 2006; IPCC 2007; Laurance and Curran 2008). This species is potentially under large scale threats from Cane Toads (Bufo marinus) (DEH 2004a) although there are no specific data on this threat. Other exotic species (cats, foxes, pigs) that have generally been found to impact on crayfish (e.g. Green and Osbourne 1981; Horwitz 1990; Merrick 1995; Eyre et al. 1997; ACT Government 2007; O'Brien 2007) also occur in this species' range (DEH 2004b,c,d), and could be causing localised declines as a result of predation and habitat destruction.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Research should be initiated to include population assessments and monitoring, biological and life history information, habitat requirements, investigations into thermal tolerance and resilience to exotic species (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).This species occurs within national parks.

All 'spiny crayfish' species in Queensland are officially 'no take' species under the Fisheries Act 1994 and must be released if captured (DPIF 2007). There is no information available on the levels of compliance, although evidence of illegal poaching is frequently observed. It is also noted that species such as this are not spiny (Morgan 1988; Coughran 2008b), and thus may be easily confused with smooth Cherax (unprotected species) and inadvertently taken by recreational fishers (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).


Citation: Furse, J. & Coughran, J. 2010. Euastacus balanesis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 September 2014.
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