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Euastacus hirsutus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA PARASTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Euastacus hirsutus
Species Authority: (McCulloch, 1917)

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 hirsutus has been assessed as Endangered B1ab(iii). It has an extent of occurrence of 1,200 km2 has a severely fragmented distribution. There has been a continuing decline in the quality of habitat due to the destructive nature of a number of exotic species in the area, some of which also predate upon this species. There is also the presence of the invasive species Cherax destructor which predates on this species and outcompetes it for habitat space.There is also destruction of suitable rainforest habitat in parts of its range. This species also faces the consequences of global temperature rise. As a restricted range species, dependent on cool, clear headwater streams, a slight increase in temperature could rapidly extirpate this species. Research should be initiated to include population assessment and monitoring, biological and life history information, habitat requirements, and resilience to effects of exotic species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to New South Wales, Australia. It ranges from Mount Keira near Wollongong, south and west to just northeast of Nowra, a distance of 55 km (Morgan 1997). The range is drained by small eastern flowing creeks and some larger streams, including Minnamurra and Cambewarra creeks and Shoalhaven River (Morgan 1997). This species has been collected at an altitude range of 200 to 600 m above sea level. Given its restriction to the upper reaches of the streams it inhabits, it should be considered severely fragmented across its range (due to the isolating effects of mountain ridges and unsuitable lowland habitat) (Morgan 1997, Ponniah and Hughes 2006). This species has an estimated extent of occurrence of 1,200 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: This species should be considered severely fragmented across its range due to the isolating effects of mountain ridges and unsuitable lowland habitat (Morgan 1997, Ponniah and Hughes 2006).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species has been collected from sedimentary sites (mostly sandstone). Light temperate rainforest borders the streams it occurs in, with wet or dry sclerophyll forest surrounding the creeks. Furthermore, the sites were described as moderately to well shaded (Morgan 1997).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Given its highly restricted range, this species is extremely susceptible to localized threats, including bush fires, forest management practices, habitat destruction and over-exploitation by collectors (J. Coughran and J.M. Furse pers. comm. 2009). This species is also susceptible to climate change, including increasing temperature, alterations to hydrological regimes, severe weather events and loss of suitable highland habitat (Chiew and McMahon 2002, Howden 2003, Hughes 2003, Pittock 2003, Hennessy 2006, Westoby and Burgman 2006, IPCC 2007).

An exotic crayfish species (Cherax destructor) is being recorded with increasing frequency throughout the Shoalhaven region (Daley and Craven 2007, McCormack 2008) and may pose a serious threat to this species if present within its range. Cherax destructor is aggressive, far more prolific and faster growing than this species. As such, it may outcompete native species in a short period of time (Merrick 1995). Other introduced exotic species (cats, foxes, pigs, goats) that 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) also occur in this species' range (DEH 2004a,c,d,e) and given this species highly restricted distribution, could have a serious impact by contributing to declines in its distribution and/or abundance (J. Coughran and J.M. Furse pers. comm. 2009). 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 (feral pigs, goats, foxes, Cane Toads and cats) and the introduced Cherax destructor 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. In New South Wales, a minimum recreational size limit of 90 mm orbital carpace length is in place for any spiny crayfish (NSW DPI 2007). This species does not attain that size, and so is indirectly protected by this restriction (J. M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008). Research should be initiated to include population assessment and monitoring, biological and life history information, habitat requirements, and investigations into thermal tolerance and resilience to exotic species.              


Citation: Furse, J. & Coughran, J. 2010. Euastacus hirsutus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 September 2014.
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