Euastacus urospinosus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Malacostraca Decapoda Parastacidae

Scientific Name: Euastacus urospinosus Riek, 1956

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(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.

Eustacus urospinosus has been assessed as Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii). This species has a severely fragmented distribution, is known from only two locations, and has an extent of occurrence of approximately 200 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.This species is also thought to be subject to illegal fishing pressure, which is likely to drive significant declines in the population owing to its slow growth rate, coupled with fragmented distribution. 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:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Queensland, Australia. It is restricted to a tributary of Obi Obi Creek, between Maleny and Mapleton in the Blackall Ranges, and other sites in the Conondale Ranges (Morgan 1988, Borsboom 1998). Individuals were collected at altitudes greater than 240 m above sea level (Horwitz 1990). The species distribution consists of two geographically separate areas around 15 km apart (J. Coughran and J.M. Furse pers. comm. 2009). However, the rainforest has been largely cleared throughout the area and only persists in pockets (Morgan 1988), and the two localities should be regarded as severely fragmented (J.Coughran and J.M Furse pers. comm. 2009). This species has an estimated extent of occurrence of 200 km2 (J. Coughran and J.M. Furse pers. comm. 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Queensland)
Additional data:
Number of Locations:2
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Few specimens have been collected of this species from the Maleny and Mapleton localities, but in a more intensive, long-term study in the Conondale Ranges, Borsboom (1998) collected it in high numbers (J. Coughran and J.M Furse pers. comm. 2009).

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This species inhabits cool, clear fast flowing headwaters in rainforested areas. Like other species of Euastacus, this species prefers heavily shaded, well oxygenated waters where it can burrow under logs and rocks (Horwitz 1990).


Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Given the apparently restricted range of each population, the species is susceptible to localized impacts, including bush fires, forest management, practices, habitat destruction and over exploitation by collectors. Climate change, including increasing temperature, alterations to hydrological regimes, severe weather events, loss of suitable rainforest habitat and increased potential for bushfires (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 (Rhinella marina) (DEH 2004a) although there are no specific data on impacts for this species. Other 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 the restricted distribution, could have impacts on this species by contributing to declines in its distribution and/or abundance (J. Coughran and J.M Furse pers. comm. 2009). Smith et al. (1998) considered the potential threat of illegal recreational fishing for the larger Euastacus hystricosus in the Conondale area, and this may also be a threat to E. urospinosus. 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) 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 it does occur in the Conondale and Mapleton Falls National Parks. Research should be initiated to include population assessment and monitoring, population genetics, investigations into the species 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 urospinosus are not spiny (Morgan 1988; 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 urospinosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T8147A12891980. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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