An Assessment of the Distribution, Biology, Threatening Processes and Conservation Status of the Freshwater Crayfish, Genus Euastacus (Decapoda, Parastacidae), in Continental Australia. II. Threats, Conservation Assessments and Key Findings
In our preceding paper we established that Euastacus is the largest of the Australian crayfish genera and includes some of the largest, and some of the rarest, species in the World. Species generally share a common suite of biological traits of slow growth, late maturation, and long lifespans (>30 years in some species). The distribution of the genus extends along most of the east coast of continental Australia, and from sea level to over 1500 m above sea level. Consequently, Euastacus inhabit most climatic zones in Australia, and are found in a wide range of habitats. In this paper we calculate distributions of the individual species, review threats, and assess the conservation status of all species against current IUCN Red List Criteria. Species' distributions range from highly restricted (2.5 km2) to widespread (>150 000 km2). Threats include: land use practices, pollution, recreational fishing, exotic species, and the known and anticipated effects of climate change. On these bases Euastacus separates into six conservation groups, with 80% (39 species) evaluated as belonging in IUCN threat categories, the majority of these Endangered or Critically Endangered: a bleak assessment.