Euastacus eungella 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Malacostraca Decapoda Parastacidae

Scientific Name: Euastacus eungella
Species Authority: Morgan, 1988

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically 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.
Eustacus eungella has been assessed as Critically Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii). This species has a severely fragmented distribution, and an extent of occurrence of 80 km2. 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 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.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Rare (R)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is endemic to Australia. It is found in the rainforested headwaters in the Clarke Range, approximately 65 km west of Mackay in Central Queensland (Morgan 1988). The nearest suitable highland habitat is either 500 km to the south, or 240 km to the north (Morgan 1988). This species is restricted to localities above 740 m above sea level (Morgan 1988). Although the species occurs in a number of streams, these are headwaters of different drainage basins, and therefore the species distribution is clearly severely fragmented (Morgan 1997; Ponniah and Hughes 2006). This species' extent of occurrence is estimated at 80 km2 (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).

Countries occurrence:
Australia (Queensland)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


There is no population data available for this species. Recent (Coughran 2008a unpublished data) targeted surveys in a number of streams and gullies in and around the type locality suggested this species is relatively uncommon, and at some sites co-occurs with a more abundant species of Cherax.

Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits cool, fast flowing, and well shaded streams of montane rainforests in an area of exceptionally high rainfall (Morgan 1988, Horwitz 1990, Ponniah and Hughes 1998).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The species is susceptible to the following threats: 1. Climate change, particularly with regard to altered hydrological regimes and severe weather events. Climate change modeling predicts that southeastern mainland Australia will experience a warmer and drier climate, leading to decreased runoff and soil moisture (Chiew and McMahon 2002, Howden 2003, Hughes 2003, Pittock 2003, Hennessy 2006, Westoby and Burgman 2006, IPCC 2007); 2. The alteration of hydrological regimes is likely to impact environmental flows, particularly in areas of increasing demand for domestic, industrial and agricultural water supplies (Hennessy 2006); 3. Over-exploitation. This restricted range species is susceptible to over-exploitation by collectors and illegal fishing pressure (O’Brien 2007); 4. Exotic fish. Potentially large scale threats from exotic fishes such as Brown Trout or Redfin Perch, which are prevalent throughout the region (Davies and McDowall 1996, Rowe et al. 2008); 5. 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) also occur in this species’ range (DEH 2004a,b,c,d), and could have localised impacts on E. eungella and contribute to declines in distribution and/or local abundance (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).

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, foxes, Cane Toads and cats) 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 conservation measures in place for this species, however this species range falls within the Eungella National Park. Research should be initiated to include population assessment and monitoring, biological and life history information, habitat requirements, investigations into thermal tolerance and resilience to effects of exotic species.

All 'spiny crayfish' (Euastacus) species in Queensland are officially 'no take' species under the Fisheries Act 1994 and must be released if captured (DPIF 2007). There is no information available on the levels of compliance, although evidence of illegal poaching is frequently observed. It is also noted that species such as this are not spiny (Morgan 1988; Coughran 2008b), and thus may be easily confused with smooth Cherax (unprotected) and inadvertently taken by recreational fishers.

Citation: Furse, J. & Coughran, J. 2010. Euastacus eungella. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T8139A12890201. . Downloaded on 06 February 2016.
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