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Euastacus fleckeri

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA PARASTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Euastacus fleckeri
Species Authority: Watson, 1935

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 fleckeri has been assessed as Endangered using criterion B1ab(iii). This species has an extent of occurrence of approximately 1,000 km2, with a severely fragmented distribution, and a decline in quality of habitat as a result of feral pigs. This species is also likely to be impacted by the non-native Cane Toad though there is no data on the impact this is having at present. Although this species is considered relatively common within its range, it is a habitat specialist and therefore any decline in habitat area or quality will result in significant declines in this species. This is further exacerbated by the slow reproductive rate of the species. Further research on the threats to this species is needed to better understand the impact on the entire population.
History:
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Australia. It is known from a small highland area (more than 900 m above sea level) west of Mossman (north Queensland), between and including MountLewis and MountSpurgeon (Morgan 1988). The species inhabits numerous gullies and headwaters of different streams within this area. This species extent of occurrence is approximately 1,000 km2 (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008). Although the species occurs in a number of streams, these are headwaters of various different drainages, and therefore the species distribution is severely fragmented (Morgan 1997, Ponniah and Hughes 2006).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Queensland)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no population data available for this species although it is relatively common within its small range (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is known to inhabit cool, clear, fast-flowing headwater streams within rainforest (Morgan 1988). As is the case for most Euastacus species, this species prefers well oxygenated, heavily shaded sites. Individuals like to burrow either under rocks or logs (Horwitz 1990). Unlike other species of Euastacus in northern Queensland, this species is very large exceeding 100 mm Orbital Carapace Length (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).

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): This species may be threatened by over-exploitation due to recreational fishing (Coughran 2008 unpublished data) especially as this species is over the 90 mm OCL catch limit that has been imposed for spiny crayfish.

Climate change, including increasing temperature, alterations to hydrological regimes, severe weather events, loss of suitable rainforest habitat, and an increased potential for bushfires could all cause population declines (Hilbert et al. 2001, Chiew and McMahon 2002,Howden 2003, Hughes 2003, Pittock 2003, Hennessy 2006, Westoby and Burgman 2006, IPCC 2007, Laurance and Curran 2008).

This species is also potentially threatened by the introduced Cane Toads (Bufo marinus) (DEH 2004b), although there are no specific data on impacts for this species. Other exotic species (cats, foxes, pigs) 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,c,d). Large areas of stream habitat within the species distribution have been totally rooted by feral pigs (Coughran 2008 unpublished data). 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place, however this species range coincides with the Northern Queensland World Heritage Area (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008). Further research on the possible threats to this species is needed to determine to what degree they are impacting the population.

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 and thus may be easily confused with smooth Cherax (unprotected) and inadvertently taken by recreational fishers. (J.M. Furse and J. Coughran pers. comm. 2008).


Citation: Furse, J. & Coughran, J. 2010. Euastacus fleckeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 September 2014.
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