Euastacus rieki 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Malacostraca Decapoda Parastacidae

Scientific Name: Euastacus rieki Morgan, 1997

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) 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.
Euastacus rieki has been assessed as Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii). This species has an estimated extent of occurrence of  322 km2, and a severely fragmented distribution owing to large areas of unsuitable habitat. There is a known decline in the quality of this species' habitat as a result of habitat modification for agriculture and a hydro-electric scheme. There are also a number of other potential and anticipated threats including predation by exotic species, and temperature increase due to climate change. Given this species' small range, further research is urgently required to determine key habitat requirements, along with monitoring of population trends and a better understanding of the main threats to this species habitat. This information is imperative to understand the necessary conservation measures required for this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Australia. It is found in New South Wales within the vicinity of the Snowy Mountains (around Mount Kosciusko), north to Kiandra and Yarrangobilly, southwest of the Australian Capital Territory (Morgan 1997). It is restricted to highland sites above 560 m, and usually above 1,000 m above sea level; it has been found as high as 1,520 m (J. Coughran and J.M. Furse pers. comm. 2009). Its narrow distribution thus incorporates highland reaches of streams in several different drainages, including the Snowy, Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers, thus its range can be considered as severely fragmented due to the barrier effects of mountain ridges and unsuitable habitat of the intervening lowlands (Morgan 1997, Ponniah and Hughes 2006). This species has an estimated extent of occurrence of  approximately 322 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no population information available for this species (J. Coughran and J.M. Furse pers. comm. 2009)
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found in creeks and streams, but is more commonly associated with bogs (ACT Government 2007). Shade on the streams is moderate to poor, and water is clear with very little algal growth, while the riparian vegetation consists of dry sclerophyll forest, heath or tussock grass (Morgan 1997). This species is found under rocks and in burrows in the stream beds, and the preferred substrate is largely gravel with some loose rocks (Morgan 1997). 

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat modification is the main threat to this species; its habitat has been impacted by agriculture, burning, river regulation and in-stream structures, such as the Snowy River Hydroelectric Scheme (O'Brien 2007). Other potential large-scale threats include predation by exotic fishes such as Brown Trout, which are prevalent throughout the region (Davies and McDowall 1996). Other exotic species such as cats, foxes, pigs and goats have generally been found to impact on crayfish (Green and Osbourne 1981, Horwitz 1990, Merrick 1995, Eyre et al. 1997, ACT Government 2007, O'Brien 2007) and also occur in this species range (DEH 2004a,c,d,e).

This species may also be affected by climate change. Climate change poses a threat through increased temperatures, altered hydrological regimes and severe weather events (Chiew and McMahon 2002, Howden 2003, Hughes 2003, Pittock 2003, Hennessy 2006, Westoby and Burgman 2006, IPCC 2007). Climate change modelling predicts that southeastern mainland Australia will experience a warmer and drier climate, leading to decreased run-off and soil moisture (Chiew and McMahon 2002, Howden 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no species specific conservation measures in place for this species, however its distribution range coincides the Kosciuszko National Park. Research should be initiated to include population assessment and monitoring, biological and life history information, habitat requirements, investigations into thermal tolerance, resilience to exotic species. Given that E. rieki is the highest altitude species of crayfish in Australia, further exploration of its aquatic requirements is warranted. In particular, closer examination of bogs may increase understanding of its alpine ecology.


In New South Wales and Victoria, a minimum recreational size limit of 90mm OCL is in place for any spiny crayfish (DPI 2007; NSW DPI 2007). Euastacus rieki does not attain that size, and so is indirectly protected by this restriction. Apart from a ban on Euastacus armatus, there are no recreational fishing regulations in the Australian Capital Territory (TAMS 2007).


Citation: Coughran, J., Furse, J. & Lawler, S. 2010. Euastacus rieki. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T153706A4534633. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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