This week, another brand new crayfish species to be given a name!
It’s Cherax gherardii. Im pleased that it’s second, specific name is given in tribute to the late crayfish biologist, Francesca Gherardi. I had to good fortune to meet Francesca at one of her last conferences, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in 2013.
It was sometimes called the “rainbow crayfish” and “blue moon crayfish” in the pet trade – although these names are also used to designate other species in the same genus. The authors recommend “blue-legged crayfish” as a common name.
This is at least the sixth crayfish species in twelve years that
was found and sold widely in the pet trade before being introduced to
the scientific literature.
To give you an idea of how little we know about it, you can’t find its native habitat (the Ajamaru River and adjoining lakes) on Google Maps. Luckily, there’s a map in the paper, and boy, its range is small.
Update, 15 September 2015: A new paper by the same team has announced a correction to the name: this species is now Cherax gherardiae.
Patoka J, Bláha M, Kouba A. 2015. Cherax (Astaconephrops) gherardii, a new crayfish (Decapoda: Parastacidae) from West Papua, Indonesia. Zootaxa 3964(5): 526-536. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3964.5.2
Remembering Francesca Gherardi