Reiks freshwater crayfish
Endangered: IUCN RedList (IUCN 2018)
The Euastacus (spiny crayfish) genus of freshwater crayfish is found only in permanent watercourses, usually restricted to mid to high altitudes in the Murray-Darling Basin and southeast Australian coastal river systems. Of the 50 species in this genus, 80% are considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Reiks freshwater crayfish are small (less than 9cm) shy and shiny crustaceans, which only live in freshwater alpine wetlands in Kosciuszko National Park. They are the highest altitude species of crayfish in Australia and an important food source for other native animals including invertebrates, frogs, fish and platypus. They also help maintain river health.
Habitat loss and modification is listed as the major threat to this species. They are highly dependent on constant, clear, good quality water flows, with reliable dissolved oxygen levels.
The inland wetlands that Reiks freshwater crayfish depend on are being trampled and degraded by feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park. The horses’ sharp, heavy hooves cut into riverbanks, silting the water, eroding and slumping creek sides, degrading structural integrity, and rendering the watercourses and crayfish habitat highly vulnerable to desiccation.
Reiks freshwater crayfish only exists in Kosciuszko National Park and feral horses are destroying the clear, clean, reliable water source they need to survive.
- Department of Primary Industries (2013), Spiny Crayfish, Sourced 18th January 2019: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/fish-species/species-list/spiny-crayfish
- 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.
- Coughran, J., Furse, J. & Lawler, S. 2010. Euastacus rieki. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T153706A4534633. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-3.RLTS.T153706A4534633.en. Downloaded on 18th January 2019.