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Engaeus rostrogaleatus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA PARASTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Engaeus rostrogaleatus
Species Authority: Horwitz, 1990
Common Name(s):
English Strzelecki Burrowing Crayfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-01
Assessor(s): Doran, N. & Horwitz, P.
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:
Engaeus rostrogaleatus has been assessed as Vulnerable undercriterion B1ab(iii). This species has an estimated extent of occurrence of 116 km², and is known from around 6-10 locations. There are a number of threats currently facing this species including the use of pesticides and herbicides, water qulaity issues, and loss of riparian habitat. Parts of this species range occur in protected areas but even these can be subject to some of these threats from upstream sources. Further research on the effect of forest management on this species population is encouraged.
History:
1996 Endangered
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to southern Victoria, Australia. It is restricted to the high altitude regions of the Eastern Strzelecki Range in South Gippsland, Victoria. All sites at which it was collected were over 400 m altitude (Horwitz 1990). However, Van Praagh (2003c) states this species is restricted to an area of habitat occurring along streams over a linear distance of approximately 30 km in two river basins, namely the La Trobe and South Gippsland drainages (Drew et al. 2008). This includes the Tarra-Bulga National Park, public land and leased land for private forestry and some privately owned land. This species has an estimated Extent Of Occurrence (EOO) of 116 km2.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Victoria)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:

There is insufficient population data available for this species. No data exist to say at this stage whether this species is undergoing a population decline or whether it is stable (P. Horwitz pers. comm. 2009)

Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species' burrows have been found either in the flood-bed where they were very shallow and almost without a descending or vertical component, or immediately adjacent to the flood-bed in the banks where vertical tunnels of these burrows often descended to the flood-bed level. These yellow soils were composed of a heavy clay component (Horwitz 1990). The species has been largely recorded from the very high, steep parts of the Eastern Strzelecki Ranges, in wetter gullies where there is no clear demarcation between the gully and the hillside.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species' burrows can be located in head water regions which are particularly susceptible to degradation by forestry practices. This is particularly the case if the prescriptions in the 'Code of Forest Practices for Timber Production' (NRE 1996) are not strictly followed or developed in accordance with the ecological requirements of this species (Van Praagh 2003c). Crayfish that are restricted to high altitudes such as this species are generally thought to be more sensitive to changes in water quality due to their occurrence within cooler temperature regimes and clear water, compared to more opportunistic lowland crayfish. All freshwater crayfish appear to be highly susceptible to chemical pollutants such as herbicides and insecticides, and this species has not been found in areas cleared of native vegetation (P. Horwitz pers. comm. to B. Van Praagh undated). On privately owned land, removal of riparian vegetation combined with the impacts of stock grazing contribute to soil erosion, stream bank damage, and siltation of streams resulting in damage to the crayfish burrows. While the exact role of native vegetation in the survival of the species is not known, it is likely to be important (Van Praagh 2003c). A substantial amount of land within the range of the species distribution is used for plantations. The species has been recorded from above Grand Ridge Road (Rhyton Junction) on Crown land which is leased to Grand Ridge Plantations, a subsidiary of Hancock Victorian Plantations Pty Ltd. This area contains both hardwood and softwood plantations. Forestry activities may pose direct and indirect threats to this species from construction, use and maintenance of logging roads, snig tracks, and removal of vegetation. Potential threats include habitat destruction and crushing of burrows, deposits of sediment into burrows and alteration of water table levels (Horwitz 1990). Any activity which may lead to an alteration in the nature of the stream-side water table or drainage patterns could impact on the species' survival locally. Guidelines for forestry operations have been developed in the Code of Forest Practices for Timber Production (NRE 1996) to minimise any impacts from these activities (Van Praagh 2003c). Broad scale habitat change and changes in weather, water and drainage patterns due to climate change could become a major issue in the future (N. Doran pers. comm. 2008). Given the species' relatively high altitude occurrence, climate change will pose a significant threat to this species in the future (P. Horwitz pers. comm. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Existing conservation measures for this species include surveys which were undertaken as part of the Regional Forest Agreement process for the Gippsland Region (Van Praagh 2003c). Recommended conservation measures are as follows: Conduct surveys to establish the distribution of the species within the 30 km stretch of riparian habitat and search likely habitat outside this area; Monitor key populations represented within national parkland, Crown land plantation areas, and private land; Incorporate actions to protect, enhance and restore this species' habitat into relevant Regional Catchment Strategies or their subordinate strategies via Biodiversity Action Plans; Protect this species' habitat within the Tarra-Bulga National Park and plantation areas; Provide landholders with information and advice regarding measures to protect this species if surveys confirm the presence of this species on or near private land (Van Praagh 2003c). Plans to pursue funding under the Natural Heritage Trust and /or provide incentives to support fencing of habitat on private land to exclude stock have been made. Research should be encouraged into the biology and ecology of this species over a three year period and identify the effects of forest management practices using the population found in Tarra-Bulga National Park as a control.

Citation: Doran, N. & Horwitz, P. 2010. Engaeus rostrogaleatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 November 2014.
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