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Euastacus sulcatus (Family Parastacidae)

Blue Spiny Crayfish, Skeletal Crayfish, Lamington Spiny Crayfish

Distribution

Distribution:

The Blue Spiny Crayfish has a limited range, occurring from the upper Richmond River in northern New South Wales, north to the Lamington Plateau and west to the Condamine River system. (NSW, Qld).

Features:

The Blue Spiny Crayfish has a total body length (including the abdomen) of about 235mm; the carapace may be up to 120mm long. Their body varies in colour between locations, western populations are green to brown and the Lamington and Springbrook populations are bright blue or bluish green, their spines are white or pale. Males and females are similar. When startled the claws are raised and outstretched above the head; juveniles may attempt a rapid escape by flicking the tail several times.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Blue Spiny Crayfish lives in small shallow highland streams, at altitudes above 300m. They prefer rocky or sandy bottoms with leaf litter present. The banks are shaded by rainforest or wet sclerophyll woodland.

The Blue Spiny Crayfish can be active during the day and is frequently observed walking through the forest, considerable distances from water. Details of the diet are unknown, but it is thought to include decomposing plant material. Like other members of the family, the Blue Spiny Crayfish is thought to burrow, but no details are available. Males probably begin to mature at 60 mm in length, whereas females are a little larger (80–120 mm long) when they mature. Breeding is annual, mating occurs in autumn and the females carry the eggs during winter.

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Interaction with Humans/Threats:

Although much of the natural vegetation has been cleared in the species range, this crayfish is not considered endangered. Eastern parts of the distribution will remain protected as reserves, but survival of existing populations is dependent on conservation action, especially control of water quality and introduced pests.

Further Reading:

Merrick, J.R. (1993). Freshwater Crayfishes of New South Wales. Linnean Society of New South Wales, Sydney. 128 pp.

Acknowledgments:

Text and Distribution map by J.R. Merrick. Photograph by J. Cleasby.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/gif 34683 bytes Euastacus sulcatus
Distribution Map  
image/gif 6551 bytes Distribution of Euastacus sulcatus

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