Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Engaeus yabbimunna (Burnie Burrowing Crayfish) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001ae) [Listing Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Draft referral guidelines for four threatened Tasmanian burrowing crayfish (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011s) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (14/07/2001) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2001g) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Tasmania's Freshwater Burrowing Crayfish (Department of Primary Industries and Water (DPIW), 2007) [Information Sheet].
TAS:Engaeus yabbimunna (Burnie Burrowing Crayfish): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014vc) [State Action Plan].
State Listing Status
TAS: Listed as Vulnerable (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Vulnerable (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Engaeus yabbimunna [66781]
Family Parastacidae:Decapoda:Malacostraca:Arthropoda:Animalia
Species author Horwitz, 1994
Infraspecies author  
Reference ANZECC Threatened Fauna List May 2000
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images
http://www.crayfishworld.com/landyabbies4.htm

Scientific name: Engaeus yabbimunna

Common name: Burnie Burrowing Crayfish

The Burnie Burrowing Crayfish is a freshwater crayfish which grows to an average of 6 cm long. This species is distinctive as it has only one row of tubercles on the back of the claw, a smooth 'palm' of the claw and an upturned tip of the rostrum (projection between the eyes). The tail fan is broad and well rounded with small spines (Bryant & Jackson 1999b).

The Burnie Burrowing Crayfish is known only from Burnie and the area immediately to the west, in Tasmania. The species was first discovered in 1992 in Burnie Park. It has been recorded at 34 sites in Shorewell, Romaine, Cooee, Seabrook, Camp and Distillery Creeks (Doran 1999b; Doran & Richards 1996). The extent of occurrence is 130 km² (Richardson et al. 2006).

The species has a fragmented distribution, as only those subpopulations in Romaine Creek are interconnected (Doran & Richards 1996).

The population size of the Burnie Burrowing Crayfish has been estimated at 229 000 to 1 650 000. This was calculated using the density/occupancy estimates determined for the related Scottsdale Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus spinicaudatus) coupled with known locations and projected habitat for the Burnie Burrowing Crayfish (Doran 1999b).

The Burnie Burrowing Crayfish is not known to occur in any conservation reserves (Doran 1999b).

The Burnie Burrowing Crayfish prefers well covered, slowly draining strips of fern dominated native riparian vegetation. It is known from stream banks and seepages retaining remnant riparian vegetation within Burnie, and, outside the city, in open and grassy sheep pasture, farm dams, roadside seeps and culverts, sedgey marsh, and some moderately disturbed stream sides (Doran 1999b).

The Burnie Burrowing Crayfish usually constructs burrows which are connected to the water table (Doran 1999b). Burrows can be complex and extensive and may often be the product of several generations of crayfish activity (Doran & Richards 1996).

Burrowing crayfish live their entire lives within their burrow systems (DPIW 2007). Males and females are not found in the same burrow system (Horwitz 1990a). They occasionally appear on the surface at night and in damp, overcast conditions. All burrowing crayfish have gills under their carapace, making them dependent on water to breathe (DPIW 2007).

Burnie Burrowing Crayfish are believed to mate in early September (Doran 1999b). Females have been found in early December carrying eggs in an early stage of development under their tails (Doran 1999b).

Burrowing crayfish feed on rotting wood, detritus, root material and occasional animals material (Bryant & Jackson 1999b). Ferns (Dicksonia antarctica), tea-tree, other vegetable material and aquatic invertebrates are likely food sources for the Burnie Burrowing Crayfish (Doran & Richards 1996).

Breeding and dispersal between different subpopulation of the Burnie Burrowing Crayfish is likely to be very limited in most cases (Doran & Richards 1996).

Distinctiveness
The Engaeus genus, which includes the Burnie Burrowing Crayfish, can be distinguished from other freshwater crayfish on the basis of size (Engaeus species are very small); claw orientation and shape; carapace (shield covering the back) grooves; and the location and number of spines on the body (DPIW 2007; Horwitz 1988).

Survey methods
The following survey methods were developed during a workshop in June 2010 and are recommended for presence/absence surveys (Tasmanian Burrowing Crayfish Workshop 2010). Where it is not possible to conduct surveys in this manner, failure to detect burrowing crayfish should not be considered indicative of their absence.

Surveys should:

  • maximise the chance of detecting the species
  • determine the context of the site within the broader landscape
  • account for uncertainty and error (such as false presences and absences)
  • be conducted by a suitably qualified person with experience in burrowing crayfish surveys, or in consultation with burrowing crayfish experts.

Visual search
The first step in surveying for burrowing crayfish is a visual search to locate burrows within suitable habitat. Presence of burrows in suitable habitat indicates the presence of burrowing crayfish. The recommended minimum search effort is one hour per hectare (Tasmanian Burrowing Crayfish Workshop 2010).

Species identification
In areas where only one burrowing crayfish species occurs, the presence of crayfish burrows confirms the presence of that species. However, in some areas, more than one crayfish species may be present (that is, the species occur together). In an area of overlapping distributions, further investigation is needed once burrows have been located to determine the species occupying a particular microhabitat. This will usually involve burrow excavation. Burrow excavation surveys must be designed and implemented in a way that minimises the disturbance to habitat at the site and should only be conducted in consultation with burrowing crayfish experts. Survey methodology should include protocols for appropriate hygiene controls to avoid the spread of pathogens such as chytrid fungus and Phytophthora in crayfish habitat. Permits may be needed for burrow excavation surveys (Tasmanian Burrowing Crayfish Workshop 2010).

Water pollution, water diversion and habitat removal are the greatest threats to the Burnie Burrowing Crayfish (Doran 1999b). Removal of vegetation from creek banks is likely to reduce the food available to this species (Doran & Richards 1996).

The species is thought to be particularly threatened by processes associated with increasing urbanisation and industrial pollution in the Burnie urban area. Populations are also threatened by agricultural and forestry activities through changes to hydrology, construction of dams and roads, streamside land clearance, soil compaction, sedimentation and changes to water quality (LEC 2007).

Due to its limited dispersal capacity, the Burnie Burrowing Crayfish is at risk from inbreeding depression. It is also less likely to be able to recolonise areas in which the local subpopulation has become extinct (Doran & Richards 1996).

The Burrowing Crayfish Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran 1999b) was developed to stabilise and improve the conservation status of the species. Specific objectives included increased habitat protection for the species, an increase in public awareness and involvement in the species' protection and to ensure the species' long-term survival. The following recovery actions were recommended (Doran 1999b):

  • habitat assessment
  • improvement of reservation status for the species
  • habitat management within agricultural areas
  • habitat management within forestry and commercial harvesting areas
  • habitat management within urban and other areas
  • community involvement and education
  • population and habitat monitoring.

Management documents for the Burnie Burrowing crayfish include:

  • Burrowing Crayfish Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran 1999b).
  • Commonwealth Listing Advice on Engaeus yabbimunna (Burnie Burrowing Crayfish) (TSSC 2001ae).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Fertiliser application Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat disturbance due to foresty activities Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Psittacine Circoviral Disease Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes to hydrology due to water diversion Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Pollution:Pollution:Deterioration of water and soil quality (contamination and pollution) Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:unspecified Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Doran, N., 1999b) [Recovery Plan].

Bryant, S. & J. Jackson (1999b). Tasmania's Threatened Fauna Handbook: What, Where and How to Protect Tasmania's Threatened Animals. Hobart, Tasmania: Threatened Species Unit, Parks and Wildlife Service.

Department of Primary Industries and Water (DPIW) (2007). Tasmania's Freshwater Burrowing Crayfish. [Online]. Hobart, Tasmania: DPIW. Available from: http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/LJEM-73J92W?open.

Doran, N. (1999b). Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus) Group Recovery Plan 2001-2005. [Online]. Tasmania: Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/burrowing-crayfish/index.html.

Doran, N. & K. Richards (1996). Management requirements for rare and threatened burrowing crayfish in Tasmania. In: Report to the Tasmanian RFA Environment and Heritage Technical Committee. [Online]. Hobart: Tasmanian Public Land Use Commission, Forestry Tasmania. Available from: http://www.daff.gov.au/rfa/regions/tasmania/environment/crayfish.

Horwitz, P. (1988). A key to the genera of Tasmanian freshwater crayfish. The Tasmanian Naturalist. 94:1-3.

Horwitz, P. (1990a). A taxonomic revision of species in the freshwater crayfish genus Engaeus Erichson (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Invertebrate Taxonomy. 4:427-614.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2010). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. [Online]. Available from: http://www.iucnredlist.org.

Launceston Environment Centre (LEC) (2007). Tasmania's burrowing crayfish. [Online]. Available from: http://www.lec.org.au/pdfs/Engaeus.pdf.

Richardson, A., N. Doran & B. Hansen (2006). The geographic ranges of Tasmanian crayfish: extent and pattern. Freshwater Crayfish. 15:347-364.

Tasmanian Crayfish Workshop (2010). Proceedings of the Tasmanian Crayfish Workshop, 28-29 June 2010. Devonport, Tasmania.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2001ae). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Engaeus yabbimunna (Burnie Burrowing Crayfish). [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/e-yabbimunna.html.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Engaeus yabbimunna in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sun, 24 Aug 2014 00:03:26 +1000.