Western Burrowing Cray, Engaeus merosetosus
Engaeus crayfish are known as the burrowing or terrestrial crayfish. They are all small species usually under 70 mm head to tail and some species can be found well away from water in suburban lawns or the sides of mountains. There are 35 species found in Australia with 23 of those found in Victoria.
Pierre Horwitz in 1990 described Engaeus merosetosus with the holotype from Waurn Ponds in Victoria. The species occurs predominantly in the Geelong-Ballarat region, Victoria, Australia. It has been found in the upper reaches of the Werribee River and just across the Great Dividing Range in the upper reaches of the Loddon and Tullaroop drainages (Horwitz 1990).
Engaeus merosetosus has been assessed as Least Concern by the IUCN. This species is relatively broadly distributed, and there is no evidence that it is experiencing declines at the present time. This species has an estimated extent of occurrence of 5,292 km2 (IUCN 2015).
Horwitz 1990 did not record any berried females so the discovery of this berried female (44 eggs, 5.31 grams, 17.22 mm OCL) from Waurn Ponds Creek was a lucky find. The creek was low with just scattered puddles. Burrows were abundant most quite deep and all seemed water filled at least 200 mm down.
References and Further Reading
Horwitz, P. (1990). A taxonomic revision of species in the freshwater crayfish genus Engaeus Erichson (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Invertebrate Taxonomy 4: 427‐614.
IUCN Citation: Doran, N. and Horwitz, P. 2010. Engaeus merosetosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T153749A4540433. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-3.RLTS.T153749A4540433.en. Downloaded on 23 November 2015.
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