Euastacus spinifer


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Euastacus spinifer
Species Authority: (Heller, 1865)

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.
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 spinifer has been assessed as Least Concern. This species has an approximate extent of occurrence of 55000 km2 and is the second most widespread species in the genus. There is evidence for habitat loss and degradation in some areas due to urbanization, although this does not apply across the entire range. Although this species is widespread and has less specific habitat requirements than other species in the genus, there is a possibilty it could be threatened by similar factors impacting on other Euastacus species, e.g. climate change, exploitation and the introduction of exotic species. There is no species specific conservation measures in place for this species, however its distribution coincides with numerous national parks. Future research is needed to determine the abundance of this species, and whether it is being impacted upon by threats within its range.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is endemic to Australia. The species has been collected at altitudes ranging from near sea level to 1200 m above sea level (Morgan 1997, McCormack 2008). Its range extends from the upper reaches of the Hastings River northwest of Port Macquarie, South through Sydney and the Blue Mountains to the vicinity of Clyde Mountain near Brooman, a range of approximately 550 km North to South and approximately 100 km East to West (Morgan 1997). The range is drained by a number of eastward flowing coastal streams (Morgan 1997). Recent surveys in the western drainages (Murray-Darling Basin) have recorded specimens that appear to be this species (Coughran 2008 unpublished data). This species has a distribution of approximately 55,000 km2, the second most widespread species in the genus (J. Coughran and J.M Furse pers. comm. 2009). 

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Numerous aspects of the species’ biology, distribution, abundance and ecology have been documented (Turvey and Merrick 1997a,b,c,d,e) rendering this species one of the best understood in the genus Euastacus. With regard to the Sydney region Merrick (1995) suggested that large scale urban and industrial developments might be a factor in local declines in abundance of this species. Although the species is very widespread and occurs in a number of streams, these are in different drainages and may represent fragmented populations.

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Euastacus spinifer is found in creeks, streams and rivers. The inhabited areas are moderately well shaded by dry sclerophyll and heath vegetation, occasionally with wet sclerophyll and temperate rainforest along the banks (Morgan 1997). Much of the species habitat  around Sydney has been dramatically altered. The pressures of fishing and development have concentrated populations in relatively undisturbed areas of national parks, state forest and water catchments (Morgan 1997). Recreational fishing (in particular the taking of large adults) has the capacity to lead to serious and far reaching impacts on population structure (i.e. the stunted population phenomenon (Huner and Lindqvist 1985, Tulonen et al. 2008)), including impairment of reproductive success in females (Tulonen et al. 2008).


Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

In areas of this species range, it has undergone habitat loss and degradation due to urbanization, however this threat does not apply across the entire range of this species and so is not considered significant to the species in general. Although widespread and less specific in its habitat requirements that most Euastacus species, it could be threatened by similar factors impacting on other Euastacus, e.g. climate change, exploitation and exotic species (J. Coughran and J.M Furse pers. comm. 2009). 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species, however its distribution coincides with numerous national parks. Research should be initiated to include population genetics, thermal tolerance and resilience to exotic species.  


In New South Wales, a minimum recreational size limit of 90mm OCL is in place for any spiny crayfish (NSW DPI 2007). Only four of the >35 Euastacus species in NSW attain that size (E. sulcatus, E. spinifer, E. valentulus, E. armatus), so the regulation may in fact increase fishing pressure on these four species. There is no information available on the levels of compliance. The current recreational fishing regulations are inconsistent with the specific recommendations for the species provided by Merrick (1997).

Citation: Coughran, J. & Furse, J. 2010. Euastacus spinifer. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 07 July 2015.
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