The following is a list of some of the scientific publications resulting from the Australian Crayfish Project. We are very lucky in Australia, our management agencies are dedicated towards the protection of our native species and the environment. But they cannot act without all the facts. The ACP provides scientific information on species, their habitat and the threats. Given the facts, all our management agencies are swift to act and ensure the crayfish and their habitats are protected and conserved for all time.
1. RESEARCH & CONSERVATION
McCormack, R.B. (2015). Conservation of imperiled crayfish, Euastacus clarkae Morgan, 1997 (Decapoda: Parastacidae), a highland crayfish from the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia’s World Heritage Area. Journal of Crustacean Biology, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 282 – 291. DOI: 10.1163/1937240X-00002315
The imperiled Clark’s crayfish, Euastacus clarkae Morgan (1997), was described from a handful of juvenile specimens collected from one location in 1981. The Australian Crayfish Project recently completed an intensive field survey project to better define its distribution, habitat, biology and conservation status. Euastacus clarkae is restricted to headwater reaches of highland streams feeding the Hastings and Forbes rivers, at elevations ranging from 670-1150 m. The entire Hastings River catchment (3846 km2) was surveyed and established the Extent of Occurrence for E. clarkae at 200 km2. The distribution was almost entirely located within Werrikimbe National Park where the species was locally abundant. We recommended conservation down listing from Critically Endangered to Endangered and present information to support future conservation efforts and allow specific management plans to be drafted for this rare, highland species. To assist with identification we provide a key to this and other Euastacus found in the Hastings and adjoining drainages.
2. RESEARCH & CONSERVATION
McCormack, R.B. (2014). New records and review of the translocation of the yabby Cherax destructor into eastern drainages of New South Wales, Australia. Australian Zoologist. Volume 37 (1) 85 – 94. ISSN 0067-2238 (Print). http://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2014.006
The blue claw yabby Cherax destructor is a native of the Murray Darling drainage basin which is located in the interior of south-eastern Australia. In New South Wales (NSW) the species naturally occurs west of the Great Dividing Range but recently, it has become established in eastern parts of NSW, outside of its natural range. The potential threats and translocation of this species into eastern NSW was first documented at 20 sites by Coughran et al. (2009). This paper builds on their initial work and documents a further 52 translocation sites (Table 1) recorded over the last four years. In an effort to further our understanding of the threat, we present information on the dispersal of this species together with observational information on interactions with freshwater crayfish (Parastacidae) species and suggest recommendations to help slow the translocation process.
St Lawrence, A., Wright, I.A., McCormack, R.B., Day, C., Smith, G. and Crane, B. (2014). Bifenthrin pesticide contamination: impacts and recovery at Jamison Creek, Wentworth Falls, in Vietz, G; Rutherfurd, I.D, and Hughes, R. (editors), Proceedings of the 7th Australian Stream Management Conference. Townsville, Queensland, Pages 558-567. http://7asm-2014.m.asnevents.com.au/information#/schedule/abstract/11636
In July 2012, over 1000 dead Giant Spiny Crayfish (Euastacus spinifer) were found in a two kilometre reach of Jamison Creek, Wentworth Falls, including within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. A multi-agency investigation discovered the crayfish were killed by a termiticide, Bifenthrin, and that the effects extended beyond the crayfish to the entire aquatic macroinvertebrate community. The contaminant entered the creek via a conventional stormwater drainage system of pits and pipes, which provided a direct connection between the property at which the pesticide was over-applied and the creek 300m away. The pest control operators involved were prosecuted.
Initial impacts were catastrophic, with most aquatic macroinvertebrate families previously recorded at the creek (pre-incident average of 17 families including 5 sensitive Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) taxa) absent from the July 2012 (post-incident) survey. In the eighteen months since the contamination, steady improvements in aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity and abundance have been observed (now similar to pre-incident results) and E. spinifer have recolonised the creek.
Factors believed to have assisted recovery include the presence of good-condition, pesticide-unaffected tributary streams, allowing for rapid re-recruitment into the main trunk of Jamison Creek. Inputs to the creek and its tributaries of high quality groundwater (via Blue Mountains Swamps) are also believed to have offset ongoing urban impacts and facilitated the re-establishment of a ‘healthy’ assemblage of aquatic biodiversity. As well as having implications for the pest control industry and its regulators, the incident demonstrates the dangers of having urban areas directly connected to natural waterways via conventional stormwater infrastructure (i.e. catchments with high levels of effective imperviousness) and highlights the importance of best practice water sensitive urban design, stormwater management, planning controls and related education as protection for waterways.
McCormack RB (2014) The eastern swamp crayfish Gramastacus lacus sp. n. (Decapoda, Parastacidae) a new species of freshwater crayfish from coastal New South Wales, Australia. ZooKeys 398: 53–67. http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.398.7544
Hidden in one of Australia’s most developed and fastest growing areas lives one of the world’s smallest freshwater crayfish species. This new species is found in lowland ephemeral habitats surrounding coastal lakes and lagoons from Wamberal Lagoon, north along the coastal strip to Wallis Lake. The newly described crayfish are found in one of Australia’s most developed regions. Unfortunately, this means that much of their habitat has been lost in the past as these ephemeral areas are the first to be drained or reclaimed to make way for agriculture, industry, housing developments, golf courses, infrastructure, etc. Now, being found and officially described, this crayfish must be considered in any further developments and hopefully future habitat loss will be reduced.
5. RESEARCH & CONSERVATION
McCormack, R.B. & Van der Werf, P. 2013. The distribution, ecology and conservation status of Euastacus urospinosus (Crustacea: Decapoda: Parastacidae), a dwarf freshwater crayfish from the Mary and Brisbane River drainages, south-eastern Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum — Nature 56(2): 639–646. Brisbane. ISSN 0079–8835.
ACP surveys extends the known distribution to include rainforested streams draining to the Brisbane Rivers. The paper provides new observations on burrowing and ecological preferences and discusses conservation issues, specifically, E. urospinosus appears to be dependant on the presence of bangalow palm trees (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) which appears pivotal to the survival of the species.
McCormack, R.B. 2013. Conservation of Imperiled Crayfish, Euastacus dharawalus (Decapoda: Astacidea: Parastacidae), from the southern highlands of New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 33(3), 432-439, 2013; http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1937240X-00002138
Pure research by the ACP identified a threat to this species and this generated a strategic research project on the crayfish. As a direct result of the Australian Crayfish Project Euastacus dharawalus Morgan, 1997 was listed in November 2011 as a Critically Endangered Species by the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee, making it the first species of Euastacus in Australia to be listed as Critically Endangered under any State or Federal Government conservation legislation. Additionally, it is listed on the IUCN red list 2012.1 as Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1 (IUCN, 2012).
Coughran, J., McCormack, R.B. 2011. Euastacus morgani sp. n., a new spiny crayfish (Crustacea, Decapoda, Parastacidae) from the highland rainforests of eastern New South Wales, Australia. ZooKeys 85 : 17 – 26; http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.85.1237 PMid:21594095 PMCid:PMC3082992
In this paper, we describe a new species from a highland, rainforest site in central eastern Australia. It would appear that E. morgani has a severely restricted, highland distribution, and may be susceptible to similar threats facing other species in the genus, particularly those relating to overcollection, exotic species and climate change.
McCormack, R.B. & Coughran, J. 2011 Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the Setose Yabby, Cherax setosus (Riek 1951). Crustacean Research, No. 40: 1 – 11, 2011.
Although it occurs near one of Australia’s largest cities (Newcastle), there was a remarkable lack of information on the Setose Yabby, Cherax setosus. In this paper, we give a thorough redescription of the species and present data on its distribution, habitat, general biology, threats and conservation status.
McCormack, R.B., Coughran, J., Furse, J. & Van-der-Werf, P. 2010. Conservation Of Imperiled Crayfish – Euastacus jagara (Decapoda: Parastacidae), a highland crayfish from the Main Range, South-Eastern Queensland, Australia. Journal of Crustacean Biology. 30(3); http://dx.doi.org/10.1651/09-3207.1
As part of the broader ACP, we have recently completed more intensive field surveys for the critically endangered E. jagara, to better define its distribution and habitat. In this paper we extend the species distribution to include the opposite (western) side of the Great Dividing Range, in the Murray-Darling Basin drainage division and provide new information, on habitat, general biology, threats and conservation status. We recommend the preparation of a conservation management plan is warranted for this species given that it is clearly at risk of extinction, and that there are currently no specific management measures in place.
O’Brien, A., Coughran, J. and McCormack, R.B. 2009. On the existence of Cherax rotundus in the Severn area, south-eastern Queensland. Queensland Naturalist 47(4-6): 41-51.
In this paper we document our search for the elusive Cherax rotundus that has not been seen in the wild since its original description in 1941. Despite our failure to locate any specimens of C. rotundus, we do not consider that sufficient grounds to doubt the validity of the original type locality and recommend further research.
Coughran, J., McCormack, R.B., Daly, G. 2009. Translocation of the Yabby, Cherax destructor, into eastern drainages of New South Wales, Australia. Australian Zoologist. Vol 35 (1); http://dx.doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2009.009
This paper documents sites of translocation in the coastal drainages of eastern New South Wales, Australia. Potential implications of these translocations are discussed with regard to the native aquatic fauna of the region. We draw particular attention to: (i) the native species of amphibian that are threatened by predation by introduced yabbies, and (ii) the native crayfish fauna threatened by competition with this species. On the basis of these data, we propose to nominate C. destructor as a key threatening process under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
McCormack, R.B. & Coughran, J. 2008. Euastacus maccai, a new freshwater crayfish from the Great Dividing Range, New South Wales. Fishes of Sahul, Vol 22, (4).
A new species of freshwater crayfish, Euastacus maccai n. sp., is described from the Nandewar Range, Macdonald Range and Great Dividing Range in central eastern New South Wales, Australia. The species exhibits an unusual biology, inhabiting elaborate burrows in terrestrial habitats away from water bodies. Aspects of its morphology and ectosymbiotic fauna are discussed with regard to its unusual biology.
13. RESEARCH & CONSERVATION
McCormack, R.B. 2012. A guide to Australia’s Spiny Freshwater Crayfish. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria. ISBN 978 0 643 10386 3
Colour photographs, Line Art 248 pages, 215 x 148 mm.
2013 Whitley Award Commendation for Invertebrate Guide
Referred to as the ‘Spiny Crayfishes’ due to impressive arrays of spines on their hard armoured shells, Euastacus crayfish are the largest of the 10 genera of Australian freshwater crayfish. This book discusses 50 species found in Australia, from the iconic giant Murray lobster that is fished by recreational fishers, to the exceedingly rare and tiny species Euastacus maidae.
These uniquely Australian species range from Cooktown in far north Queensland to Wilsons Promontory in Victoria. Many are found in or around our major population areas. The book discusses basic crayfish anatomy, moulting and growth, morphology, breeding, threats and diseases. It includes colour photographs for each species, as well as a glossary and further reading list.
A Guide to Australia’s Spiny Freshwater Crayfish will be of interest to researchers, conservationists, land managers, libraries and crayfish enthusiasts
ACP scientific publications in press
- Coughran, J. McCormack, R.B. & Fetzner, J.W. Morphological redescription of the Orbost Spiny Crayfish, Euastacus diversus (Riek 1969), in eastern Victoria, Australia.
ACP scientific publications in preparation
These are the current projects in preparation. The Australian Crayfish Project is a long term project that is only now beginning to show results. In coming years the results will increase dramatically as more and more projects reach fruition.
- McCormack, R.B. & Fetzner, J.W. (in prep). The Tambo Spiny Crayfish Euastacus sp. nov. A new crayfish from the highlands of eastern Victoria, Australia. (Peer-reviewed scientific journal article).
- McCormack, R.B. The Distribution parameters for eight Euastacus species along the Liverpool Range & adjoining Mount Royal Spur, eastern NSW, Australia. (Project 100055)
- McCormack, R.B. The Hairy Crayfish Euastacus reductus aspects of biology, ecology and distribution. (Project 100055-4)
- McCormack, R.B. The Many Bristled Crayfish Euastacus polysetosus aspects of biology, ecology and distribution. (Project 100055-1)
- McCormack, R.B. The Small Crayfish Euastacus spinichelatus aspects of biology, ecology and distribution. (Project 100055-3)
- McCormack, R.B. & Ahyong S. Conservation of Imperiled Crayfish — Euastacus gamilaroi (decapoda: parastacidae), a highland crayfish from the great dividing range, eastern New South Wales, Australia. (project 100055-2)
- McCormack, R.B. & Ayhong S. (in prep). Euastacus n. sp., a new freshwater crayfish from the Great Dividing Range, New South Wales.
- McCormack, R.B. (in prep). The Bemm Spiny Crayfish Euastacus sp. nov. A new crayfish from the highlands of eastern Victoria, Australia. (Peer-reviewed scientific journal article).
- McCormack, R.B. (in prep).The Capture of Primary Burrowing Crayfish via Mist Net & Ring Snares.(Peer-reviewed scientific journal article).
- McCormack, R.B. & Fetzner, J.W. (in prep). Conservation of Imperiled Crayfish — Euastacus sp. nov (decapoda: parastacidae), a freshwater crayfish from the upper reaches of the Snowy River, East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. (Peer-reviewed scientific journal article).
- McCormack, R.B. Horwitz, P. (in prep). Conservation of Imperilled Crayfish – Gramastacus sp. nov.(decapoda: parastacidae), a lowland coastal crayfish from the central & mid north coast, New South Wales, Australia.(Peer-reviewed scientific journal article).
- McCormack, R.B. Raadik, T. (in prep). Conservation of Imperiled Crayfish — Cherax sp. nov. (decapoda: parastacidae), a lowland flood plain crayfish of the Murray River.(Peer-reviewed scientific journal article).
- McCormack, R.B., Davie, P. & Jerry, D. Review and redescription of freshwaters crayfish of the genus Cherax Erichson (Decapoda: Parastacidae) of Queensland.(in prep) (Project 100058).
– Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the northern yabby, Cherax cairnsensis (Riek 1969).
– Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the Water Hole Yabby, Cherax cartalacoolah (Short 1993)
– Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the cusped yabby Cherax cuspidatus (Riek 1969).
– Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the orange fingered yabby, Cherax depressus (Riek 1951).
– The common Brisbane yabby Cherax sp. nov. a new species of freshwater crayfish from south eastern Queensland, Australia.
– Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the Upper Tully Yabby, Cherax parvus (Short & Davie 1993)
– Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the tropical Yabby, Cherax rhynchotus (Riek 1951).
– Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of the elusive yabby, Cherax rotundus (Clark 1941).
– Taxonomy, distribution and ecology of Wassell’s Yabby, Cherax wasselli (Riek 1969).
- McCormack, R.B., (in prep). Identification of the freshwater crayfish genus Cherax Erichson (Decapoda: Parastacidae) of New South Wales, Australia.
- McCormack, R.B., Raadik, T. (in prep). The Swamp Yabby Cherax sp. nov. (Decapoda: Parastacidae): a new species of freshwater crayfish from the Murray Drainage Basin, Australia.(Peer-reviewed scientific journal article).
- McCormack, R.B. (in prep) Conservation of Imperilled Crayfish: The Tianjara Crayfish, Euastacus guwinus Morgan 1997. (Peer-reviewed scientific journal article).
- McCormack, R.B., Jerry, D.R. and Van der Werf, P.S. The freshwater spiny crayfish Euastacus bindal (Decapod: Parastacidae) with notes on biology, distribution and conservation status.
- McCormack, R.B. and Van der Werf, P.S. The freshwater spiny crayfish Euastacus maidae (Decapod: Parastacidae) with notes on biology, distribution and conservation status.
- McCormack, R.B. and Crass, D. New records and review of the distribution and ecology of freshwater crayfish (Crustacea, Decapoda, Parastacidae) of the southern catchment of the Clyde River, New South Wales, Australia.
- McCormack, R.B., Van-der-Werf, P., Burnes, C. and Van Wyk, C. The distribution, ecology and conservation status of Euastacus binzayedi Coughran et al, 2013 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Parastacidae), a dwarf freshwater crayfish from the Gondwana Rainforests, south-eastern Queensland, Australia.
- McCormack, R.B., and Burnes, C. Southern range extension of the river swimming crab (or herring bow crab) Varuna litterata into coastal New South Wales, Australia