FRESHWATER CRAYFISH | 2008| vol. 16| Research Article
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Full Citation: Johnston K, Robson BJ and Austin CM (2008). Population structure and life history characteristics of Euastacus bispinosus and Cherax destructor (Parastacidae) in the Grampians National Park, Australia. Freshwater Crayfish 16: 165-173.
Despite being the most widely distributed and cultured freshwater crayfish species in Australia, relatively little is known about the ecology of Cherax destructor outside of captivity. Similarly, few ecological studies have been conducted on the large and threatened stream dwelling Australian freshwater crayfish Euastacus bispinosus. A series of seasonal sampling surveys over two years investigated the population structure, life history and reproductive timing of C. destructor in fire dam habitats, and of E. bispinosus in channel (stream) habitats, in the Grampians National Park in south-west Victoria, Australia. Cherax destructor individuals in the largest size class (50 – 59.95 mm OCL) were not abundant during the study, while those belonging to the 0 – 9.95 mm OCL size class were more frequent in summer than at other times of year, suggesting synchronous recruitment in fire dam habitats. Individuals in the reproductively active mid-size classes were also frequent in summer. For E. bispinosus, sex ratios in spring always favoured females, although there were no clear trends for other times of year. Gravid E. bispinosus females were found in winter and spring throughout the study, and were sexually mature at a smaller size than has previously been reported.
Keywords: Cherax destructor; Euastacus bispinosus; life history; population structure; reproductive timing; sex ratios
Article Language: English
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