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Euastacus claytoni

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA PARASTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Euastacus claytoni
Species Authority: Riek, 1969

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 claytoni has been assessed as Endangered B1ab(iii). This species has an estimated extent of occurrence of 3,000 km2, and a severely fragmented distribution. The quality of this species habitat is compromised by the presence of exotic species which are assumed to be significantly impacting the long term viability of the population, as well as poor land management practices. Further research should be initiated to clarify the population genetics of the species and should extend to population assessment and monitoring, biological and life history information, habitat requirements, and investigations into thermal tolerance and resilience to exotic species in order to better understand required conservation measures.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is endemic to Australia. It is distributed from the Craigie area, near the New South Wales and Victorian border, north through the Nimmitabel type localities to the vicinity of Captains Flat (a distance of 160 km along the Great Dividing Range) (Morgan 1997). The long, narrow range of the species cuts across several different drainages on both sides of the Great Dividing Range including the Snowy, Tuross, Murrumbidgee and Shoalhaven Rivers (Morgan 1997). It is restricted to the highland reaches (more than 800 m) of these different drainage's, and can be considered as severely fragmented across its range due to the barrier effects of mountain ridges and unsuitable habitat in the intervening lowlands (Morgan 1997, Ponniah and Hughes 2006). The extent of occurrence is estimated at 3,000 km2 (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).

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

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information available for this species. Crayfish holes were noted as relatively common at the sites investigated by Morgan (1997).

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species was described from the MacLaughlinRiver in 1969. The MacLaughlin River is narrow with deep pools (less than 2 m), and shallow rocky stretches. Morgan (1997) revisited the area in 1981 and found the habitat to be largely cleared and characterized by grass and some sclerophyll forest, and could not locate any specimens. Other areas where the species occurs support poor temperate rainforest and tree ferns along the banks, and dry sclerophyll on ridges (Morgan 1997).

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): Due to its restricted range, the species is susceptible to localized impacts, including bush fires, forest management practices, habitat destruction and over exploitation by collectors (J. M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008). 

It is also potentially under large scale threat from exotic fishes such as Brown Trout or Redfin Perch (Davies and McDowall 1996, Rowe et al. 2008) as well as other exotic species (cats, foxes, pigs, goats) 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) and occur in this species' range (DEH 2004a,b,c,d).

Climate change, including increasing temperature, alterations to hydrological regimes, severe weather events, loss of apparently required rainforest habitat and increased potential for bushfires could have a detrimental affect on this species (Chiew and McMahon 2002, Howden 2003, Hughes 2003, Pittock 2003, Hennessy 2006, Westoby and Burgman 2006, IPCC 2007). Due to the narrow thermal tolerance of this species, and its restricted range (restricted to cool, headwater streams in forested catchments), global temperature increase has resulted in range contraction. This species is further compromised by the presence of exotic species (goats, feral pigs, cats, goats, trout and perch) which are known to predate on crayfish and degrade riparian habitat; while the precise effects of these threats on this species are not yet well understood, they are believed to be significantly impacting the long term viability of the population (J. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species, however its range coincides with national parkland. Further research should be initiated to clarify the population genetics of the species and should extend to population assessment and monitoring, biological and life history information, habitat requirements, and investigations into thermal tolerance and resilience to exotic species.

In New South Wales and Victoria, a minimum recreational size limit of 90 mm OCL is in place for any spiny crayfish. This species does not attain that size, and so is indirectly protected by this restriction (DPI 2007; NSW DPI 2007).


Citation: Furse, J. & Coughran, J. 2010. Euastacus claytoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
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