I found this week’s EUT a while ago, but somehow never got around to writing about it. Like a few other of my past posts, if you take a perfectly innocuous animal and make it huge, it slips right into the ugly category. On a side note, I’m surprised how few crustaceans I’ve written about so far.
|Image from RamPumps.com|
I suppose I could also define its habitat more precisely, as they prefer clean, wooded rivers, and the juveniles are mostly found in headwater streams. Like most crayfish1, the Giant Crayfish is omnivorous, or, as this site states: “Their diet consists mainly of decaying wood, but they will also consume leaves, small fish, and rotting flesh.”
As a general rule, as a species gets larger, it takes longer to reach sexual maturity, and this is no exception. It takes males nine years and females fourteen years before they’re able to make little Giant Crayfish, and they can live up to 40 years. This, coupled with the completely unsurprising problem of overharvesting, has lead to their decline in numbers, and subsequent listing. The problem of habitat loss exists for the Giant Crayfish, just like it shows up for most headwater species.
Tasmania is doing commendably well in terms of conservation efforts. It has been illegal to collect a Giant Crayfish since 1995, and there have been habitat conservation programs and education programs running around the island in an attempt to save these cute little massive crayfish.
1I know, I know, not a fish. A lot of the Australian sources are calling it a lobster, and I suppose I could always resort to “crawdad,” but I’ve always called them crayfish, and never thought of them as fish.