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Euastacus monteithorum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA PARASTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Euastacus monteithorum
Species Authority: Morgan, 1989

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-06-01
Assessor(s): Coughran, J. & Furse, 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 monteithorum has been assessed as Critically Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii). This species is only known from a single location and has an extent of occurrence of less than 10 km²; the area of occupancy must be less than or equal to the extent of occurrence. 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.
History:
1996 Endangered
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Australia. It is known only from the type locality, Kroombit Tops, a single isolated mountain peak in central Queensland. The nearest suitable highland habitat is either 280 km to the south, or 425 km to the north (Morgan 1989). The estimated extent of occurrence is less than 10 km², and the area of occupancy must be less than or equal to the extent of occurrence.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Queensland)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is thought to be rare. Recent (Oct 2008) targeted surveys in a number of streams and gullies in and around the type locality failed to locate any specimens of this species (J. Coughran and J.M. Furse 2008).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This species inhabits cool, clear fast flowing headwaters in rainforested areas at approximately 860 m above sea level (Morgan 1989). Like other species of Euastacus, this species prefers heavily shaded, well oxygenated waters where it can burrow under logs and rocks (J. Coughran and J.M. Furse pers. comm. 2009).

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).

There is a potential large scale threat from Cane Toads (Bufo marinus) (DEH 2004b) although there is no specific information on impacts upon this species. 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 serious impacts 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, foxes, goats, 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 species specific conservation measures in place for this species; however its distribution range coincides with the KroombitTopsNational 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 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 Euastacus monteithorum are not spiny (Morgan 1989; Coughran 2008), and thus may be easily confused with smooth Cherax (unprotected) and inadvertently taken by recreational fishers.


Citation: Coughran, J. & Furse, J. 2010. Euastacus monteithorum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 July 2014.
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