03 July 2012
Tuesday Crustie: One square kilometer
This is Euastacus bindal. It does not have a common name, because it is not common. It is the exact opposite of common. It is astonishingly rare.
Before the new paper by Furse and colleagues, there were a grand total of three specimens that had been seen to science. This picture is the first time the colour of the live animal has been shown to the scientific world.
Furst and collegues went back to the location where other specimens were found, on a mountain in Queensland, Australia. They found that this crayfish confined to about one square kilometre. That’s it. That’s smaller than the campus of the university where I teach and work.
Their investigations of the animal’s ecology is that it needs cool rainforest habitat, and that’s only found at the very top of this mountain. The nearest similar habitat is a couple of hundred kilometers away.
From a conservation viewpoint, there is some good news, though. That entire kilometre is within a national park. Pressures like urban development or exploitation might not be threaten this species.
Furse JM, Bone JWP, Appleton SD, Leland JC, Coughran J. 2012. Conservation of imperiled crayfish — Euastacus bindal (Decapoda: Parastacidae), a highland crayfish from Far North Queensland, Australia. Journal of Crustacean Biology 32(4): 677-683. DOI: 10.1163/193724012X633405