Save the Spinys Project 2020-2021

Spiny freshwater crayfish from the Euastacus genus are an inconspicuous casualty of the widespread and enduring bushfires that profoundly impacted Australia over 2019/20. As with other freshwater animals, spiny crayfish were not only directly impacted as the bushfires swept over the landscape but also following subsequent rainfall and runoff that has delivered burnt timber, ash (more…)

The Murray cray Euastacus armatus (von Martens 1866)

ACP SPECIES REVIEW 2 The Murray cray is Australia’s second largest crayfish species growing to over 3 kg in weight. The largest being Astacopsis gouldi for Tasmania. The Murray Crayfish has a dark green to green-brown body with black or white spines on carapace and very large white spines on their abdomen. They are an (more…)

The Slender Dwarf Crayfish Euastacus angustus

ACP SPECIES REVIEW 1. This is the planet’s rarest Euastacus species. Only two specimens have ever been captured, both from the Border Ranges National Park in northern NSW. These are the only photos of the species in life. It’s a remarkable species and we just dont know much about it. It shares the streams with (more…)

Another new Euastacus for NSW

During routine “Pure Research” as part of the Australian Crayfish Project we were attempting to map the distributions of known species in central western drainage of NSW. This involves opportunistic surveying of any available streams as we drive rural backroads attempting to head in a general direction. You may think this is easy, but it’s (more…)

The northern hairy crayfish Euastacus reductus (Riek 1969)

Research continues on Euastacus reductus, a true dwarf group crayfish from mid-eastern New South Wales. It can be found in a wide range of habitats from flowing streams to seepages and swamps. This is the most widespread and prolific dwarf group species in Australia, but despite its wide distribution, it’s an elusive species that most (more…)

An Expedition to Survey The Many-Bristled Crayfish Euastacus polysetosus (Riek 1951)

Euastacus polysetosus,called the Many-Bristled Crayfish by some are an intermediate group crayfish that rarely reaches above 70 grams and 56.6 mm OCL in size.  They live in the high altitude, clear, clean, flowing mountain streams of the Barrington Tops Region of NSW. In September 2017 we visited the Barrington Tops region to survey this endangered species. (more…)

Euastacus vesper, a new Euastacus for NSW

  The first specimens of this Euastacus species were collected in 2008 by researchers of the Australian Crayfish Project, then over the next 9 years with the assistance of the Australian Museum research group the project continued, finally culminating in the publication of this new species description. The Cudgegong Giant Spiny Crayfish Euastacus vesper is (more…)

The small spiny crayfish Euastacus dangadi (Morgan 1997)

On a recent ACP Survey of the lower north eastern coast of NSW we captured an amazing number of freshwater crabs, shrimps, fish, giant spiny crayfish and this intermediate crayfish. Euastacus dangadi is a relatively small, coastal, freshwater, intermediate crayfish with a large distribution in north eastern New South Wales. The species can grow to just (more…)

The amazing variations in colours of the Lamington Crayfish Euastacus sulcatus

The Lamington Crayfish (also known as the Mountain or Skeletal Crayfish) Euastacus sulcatus, is best known from its type locality in Lamington National Park, Queensland. A member of the Giant Spiny Group of crayfish (McCormack 2012) they grow to a large size and are fearless. Typically in the Lamington NP area they are a vivid (more…)

Exotic Dwarf Mexican Crayfish

Are you aware that illegal exotic Dwarf Mexican Crayfish are currently being clandestinely sold in Australia! All exotic freshwater crayfish are banned from Australia due to the potential for carrying “Crayfish Plague” and the potential to become pest species upsetting the natural balance. All exotic crayfish species are prohibited from Australia. Crayfish plague is a (more…)

South eastern Queensland and far northern NSW projects continue

The ACP has a number of projects going in this freshwater crayfish hotspot and in August 2016 a team got together to further investigate. a) Project 100057 The Hinterland crayfish Euastacus maidae (Decapod: Parastacidae) with notes on biology, distribution and conservation status. Robert B. McCormack and Paul Van der Werf This project is nearing completion (more…)

The Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Lobster Astacopsis gouldi

The Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Lobster Astacopsis gouldi is the planets largest freshwater invertebrate. It’s been known to grow up to 6 kg, theses days however, animals weighing 2–3 kg are considered large and anything over 4 kg as gigantic. On a recent trip to Tasmania a four man Australian Crayfish Project (ACP) team joined the (more…)

Alpine National Park, Victoria – New Euastacus crassus

  The East Gippsland region of Victoria is a difficult region to survey with a limited window of opportunity. In summer it’s too hot and subject to bushfires and closed forests. In winter it’s too cold with the crayfish retiring to their burrows and difficult to access. This leaves the spring and autumn crayfishing seasons. (more…)

Australian Parastacid Pioneer, Edgar Fredrick Riek dies aged 95

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, (more…)

The Otway’s Cray, Geocharax gracilis

Clark 1936 described the species from the Gellibrand River south of Colac, Victoria. Its a relatively common species in the Otway’s and south of the Colac region. A recent expedition  (November 2015) to the area found them to be widespread and when present abundant. Many places we captured both Cherax albidus and Geocharax gracilis together. (more…)

Western Burrowing Cray, Engaeus merosetosus

Engaeus crayfish are known as the burrowing or terrestrial crayfish. They are all small species usually under 70 mm head to tail and some species can be found well away from water in suburban lawns or the sides of mountains. There are 35 species found in Australia with 23 of those found in Victoria. Pierre (more…)

The Burrowing Crayfish Engaeus lyelli

Engaeus crayfish are known as the burrowing or terrestrial crayfish which are generally all very small species usually under 70 mm head to tail. Engaeus lyelli has a widespread distribution and is considered the largest of all the Engaeus species. The large size and taxonomy of the species has led to much consternation and various (more…)

Engaeus quadrimanus from Cann River, Victoria

Engaeus quadrimanus Clark 1936 is a relatively widespread and locally abundant species. It’s a lowland species generally found under 250 m a.s.l. from just north of Melbourne, east along the coast to just before the NSW border. Found along permanent creek and stream margins, swamps, seepages, drains and ephemeral creek beds. Found under dense scrub/forest (more…)

The Cardwell Hairy Crayfish Euastacus yigara

Euastacus yigara is a dwarf group crayfish from the rainforest streams of the Misty Mountains of far north Queensland (McCormack 2012). Since 2010 the Australian Crayfish Project has been researching this rare and elusive crayfish species. Less than a dozen specimens have ever been captured will little known on the species biology or ecology. A four (more…)

ACP 2014 The Year in Review

Just an update on what’s occurred over the year of 2014. It’s been an incredibly busy year with astounding results from a large number of projects, many reached fruition in 2014 and many are nearing completion with much new information discovered in 2014. The Australian Crayfish Project continues to increase the knowledge base on our (more…)

Engaeus mairener

I’m not familiar with the Tasmanian Engaeus but as per my Australian Engaeus bible (Horwitz, 1990) this species keys out as Engaeus mairener – if anyone has any other thoughts, please let me know as this is one of my first tastes of Tassie Engaeus. This species is endemic to north-eastern Tasmania, and seemingly abundant. (more…)

The Giant Tasmanian Freshwater Lobster Astacopsis gouldi (Clark 1936)

The Giant Tasmanian Freshwater Lobster is the largest freshwater crayfish on the planet. It’s reported to grow up to 6 kg and over 1 metre in length but, currently, animals weighing 2–3 kg are considered the largest regularly recorded. Astacopsis gouldi has been assessed as Endangered by the IUCN and listed as Vulnerable by the (more…)

Ombrastacoides leptomerus (2nd)

This is only my second Ombrastacoides leptomerus I’ve found and it was quite unexpected. It was in a roadside drain and the only burrow within 20 m in any direction. The drain was dry and newly excavated material indicated a crayfish had recently burrowed. Excavation of this burrow, indicated only 1 entrance and one burrow (more…)

Ombrastacoides leptomerus (1st)

Being unfamiliar with Tasmanian crayfish I was delighted at finding this Ombrastacoides crayfish in a small swampy drain on the side of a bush track. I consulted Hanson and Richardson 2006 and it seems to be Ombrastacoides leptomerus, if anyone has other ideas, please let me know as this is my first Ombrastacoides spp. This is a burrowing species with (more…)

The Burrowing Crayfish Engaeus fossor

During a recent trip to Tasmania I had the pleasure of seeking some freshwater crayfish between looking at the local tourist attractions.  As per Horwitz 1990 this looks like Engaeus fossor, if anyone thinks otherwise please let me know. This burrowing crayfish is endemic to Tasmania, and has the widest distribution of all Tasmanian endemic Engaeus species (Horwitz (more…)

Cherax destructor in eastern drainages paper Published

Based on the results of the Australian Crayfish Project a scientific paper on the translocation of the yabby Cherax destructor into eastern drainages of New South Wales, has been published in the scientific journal “The Australian Zoologist”. The Royal Zoological Society publishes a fully refereed scientific journal, Australian Zoologist, specialising in topics relevant to Australian zoology. (more…)

Varuna litterata The River Swimming Crab

  During recent aquatic biological studies of the Coffs Harbour City Council’s Local Government Area (CHCCLGA) we discovered the River Swimming Crab Varuna litterata. They are a marine crab known to occur in freshwater, being excellent swimmers and able to move with the currents along the coast. In Australia they have only been recorded from south east (more…)

Tag along for an Aquatic Biodiversity Study of Coffs Harbour coastal area

At the end of May 2014 we conducted a survey of the coastal swamps of Yuraygir National Park (North of Coffs Harbour). This was part of an ongoing 5 year project on an undescribed species of Tenuibranchiurus crayfish that occurs in coastal swamps of northern NSW. This latest survey was a subset and part of (more…)

New species of Gramastacus crayfish for Australia

A new species of Gramastacus freshwater crayfish has been described by Rob McCormack resulting from research over the last eight years as a volunteer on the Australian Crayfish Project (ACP). The eastern swamp crayfish from the genus Gramastacus, was published in the open access journal ZooKeys. Only one other species of Gramastacus crayfish is known (more…)

The Terrestrial Crayfish Euastacus maccai

The Terrestrial Crayfish Euastacus maccai (McCormack & Coughran 2008) is an intermediate group crayfish (McCormack 2012) from northern New South Wales that prefers terrestrial habitats with subsurface water. They burrows in ephemeral habitats with green terrestrial vegetation growing on the grounds surface above and around the burrows. This is a high altitude species, preferring over 1000 m (more…)