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:
Euastacus nobilis crassus
Cherax dispar elongates
Cherax dispar crassus
Cherax rotundus setosus
Australian Freshwater Crayfish
The Phylogeny of the Parastacidae
Riek’s Crayfish Euastacus rieki was named by Gary Morgan in 1997 in respect of the pioneering parastacid systematic works of E.F. Riek.
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.
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/