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Engaeus australis Riek 1969

Lilly Pilly Burrowing Crayfish

Keith A. Crandall
Containing group: Engaeus


Holotype, Museum of Victoria, Melbourne J910 (intersexed); paratype, Museum of Victoria, Melbourne J3910 (intersexed).

Type Locality

Lilly Pilly Gully, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria.


This species has only been found on Wilsons Promontory, Southern Victoria and is easily located at Lilly Pilly Gully (as evidenced by the number of specimens collected from that site since 1928). The specimens collected from Mt. Ramsay indicate that the species may be more widespread over the Promontory. Due to the low vagility expected for this species and the isolation of the Promontory from both the mainland of Victoria (by the Yanakie Isthmus) and the Bass Strait Islands including Tasmania, it is unlikely that the species will be found elsewhere.


At the type locality, Lilly Pilly Gully, E. australis is one of five species of freshwater crayfish which can be found. The topography consists of a 2-3 m wide creek meandering, sometimes splitting, through a broad plain; at edges of the flood plain the hill slope commences at an inclination of approximately 25 degrees. The flood plain has surface water in very shallow but extensive pools (seen in October 1982 and 1983) on silts and loams with a very high organic content (received from the many rotting logs and input from falling leaves of the lilly pilly and other remnants of warm temperate rainforest). The creek flows slowly, with a bed of coarse sands and with fern covered banks approaching 1 m high in some places. The burrows of E. australis are usually located on the hill slopes adjacent to the flood plain where they receive no water from the water-table (type 3 burrows). The burrows themselves have either indistinct or rim-shaped chimneys at the openings on the surface. The soil consists of 1-2 cm of macroorganic material, followed by 15-40 cm of silty sand and a gradual change to soils with a heavier component of clay (yellow-grey in color). Burrows were found with chambers in either the sandy or clayey layers; some chambers were no more than 20 cm below the surface of the ground and were dry (albeit in October of a drought year, 1982). Some systems in clayey soils exhibited a network of openings and tunnels leading to several separate chambers. Systems in sandier soils often had extra tunnels descending from a large chamber; these tunnels were blocked by silt and debris and were difficult to follow. It is possible that the juveniles, which were not located in this survey, could have been housed in deeper chambers at the bottom of such tunnels.

Conservation Status

Category: EN (Endangered)
Criteria: B1+2c
Conservation Links:

Other Names for Engaeus australis Riek 1969


Baillie, Jonathan, and Brian Groombridge. 1996. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals.

Horwitz, Pierre. 1990. A Taxonomic Revision of Species in the Freshwater Crayfish Genus Engaeus Erichson (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Invertebr. Taxon., 1990, 4, 427-614.

Riek, E. F. 1969. The Australian freshwater crayfish (Crustacea: Decapoda: Parastacidae). With descriptions of new species. Australian Journal of Zoology 17, 855-918.

About This Page
Page constructed by Emily Browne.

Keith A. Crandall
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA

Page: Tree of Life Engaeus australis Riek 1969. Lilly Pilly Burrowing Crayfish. Authored by Keith A. Crandall. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Crandall, Keith A. 2001. Engaeus australis Riek 1969. Lilly Pilly Burrowing Crayfish. Version 01 January 2001 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Engaeus_australis/7821/2001.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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