Edgar Riek one of Australia pioneers in the freshwater crayfish field died on the 9th February after receiving a serious head injury from a fall. His death was a great loss; Edgar was an amazing man with a long and distinguished career in a wide range of subjects including, entomology, palaeontology, geology, biology, bacteriology, horticulture, trout fishing and wine making.

Although technically born in New Zealand in 1920, he was raised on a farm at Caboolture, Queensland from a baby. Attending Brisbane Grammar School then as a lab assistant in the Geology Department of Queensland University (QU) completing his undergraduate university as an evening student. Edgar obtained a B.Sc. (1944) and M.Sc. (1946 freshwater invertebrates) from QU. He obtained a D.Sc. (Qld) for his work on fossil insects in 1971. In Australian limnological circles he is remembered for his taxonomic work on mayfies, stoneflies and decapod crustaceans. Edgar was awarded an OAM in 1996 for his services to viticulture and to entomology.

On graduation, he became a demonstrator in the Department of Zoology. and it’s only from there, after the war, at the end of 45, that he went to Canberra and joined CSIRO. Edgar was the principal research scientist in the Division of Entomology at the CSIRO from 1945 through to 1978. During that time he worked on insects, fossils and our decapod crustacean. He was incredibly productive and described a mass of our freshwater crustaceans.

This is a list of the freshwater crayfish species he described:

Riek 1951
Euastacus cunninghami
Euastacus valentulus
Euastacus hystricosus
Euastacus sulcatus
Euastacus nobilis crassus
Euastacus polysetosus
Tenuibranchiurus glypticus
Engaeus parvulus
Parastacoides leptomerus
Parastacoides setosimerus
Cherax dispar
Cherax dispar elongates
Cherax dispar crassus
Cherax depressus
Cherax robustus
Cherax rotundus setosus
Cherax rhynchotus

Riek 1956
Euastacus spinosus,
Euastacus simplex
Euastacus neohirsutus
Genus Euastacoides,
Euastacoides setosus
Euastacoides maidae
Euastacoides urospinosus
Cherax esculus

Riek 1967
Engaewa subcoerulea
Engaewa reducta
Engaewa similis
Parastacoides sternalis
Parastacoides pulcher
Cherax crassimanus
Chevax glaber
Cherax glabrimanus
Cherax neocarinatus

Riek 1969
Australian Freshwater Crayfish
Engaeus urostrictus
Engaeus australis
Engaeus jumbunna
Engaeus connectus
Engaeus reductus
Engaeus aliensus
Euastacus diversus
Euastacus neodiversus
Euastacus claytoni
Euastacus kierensis
Euastacus aquilus
Euastacus clydensis
Euastacus brachythorax
Astacopsis fluviatilis
Cherax cuspidatus
Cherax neopunctatus
Cherax cairnsensis
Cherax wasselli
Cherax gladstonensis
Cherax urospinosus

Riek 1972
The Phylogeny of the Parastacidae
Genus Gramastacus
Gramastacus insolitus
Gramastacus gracilis

Riek's Crayfish Euastacus rieki
Riek’s Crayfish Euastacus rieki

Riek’s Crayfish Euastacus rieki was named by Gary Morgan in 1997 in respect of the pioneering parastacid systematic works of E.F. Riek.

Berried Euastacus rieki from Namadgi National Park, ACT
Berried Euastacus rieki from Namadgi National Park, ACT

Research on Riek’s Crayfish Euastacus rieki continues today with the ACT Aquatic Team  from the ACT Government’s Conservation Planning and Research Unit recording the first breeding record in 2014. http://www.aabio.com.au/rieks-crayfish-euastacus-rieki-first-breeding-record/  They are currently heading out into the field (2016) to increase our knowledge base on this unique species.


References and further reading:

50 years of history Australian Society for Limnology http://www.asl.org.au/assets/ASL/ASL-50-Year-Compilation.pdf

Orbost Spiny Crayfish Euastacus diversus http://www.aabio.com.au/tag/spiny-crayfish/ This story began back in 1959 when one of Australia’s foremost expert on freshwater crayfish at that time, Edgar Riek, discovered this small freshwater crayfish species in the east Gippsland region of Victoria. Then in 1969 he described the species and named it Euastacus diversus. Since that day this crayfish has remained a rare and elusive species.

The Canberra Times http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-wine-district-pioneer-edgar-riek-dies-aged-95-20160210-gmqa1q.html

National Library of Australia, Edgar Riek interviewed by Heather Rusden http://nla.gov.au/nla.oh-vn255039

Morgan, G. J. 1997. Freshwater crayfish of the genus Euastacus Clark (Decapoda: Parastacidae) from New South Wales, with a key to all species of the genus. Records of the Australian Museum Supplement 23: 1-110.

Riek’s Crayfish Euastacus rieki (first breeding record) http://www.aabio.com.au/rieks-crayfish-euastacus-rieki-first-breeding-record/