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Introduction of redclaw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus (von Martens) to Lake Kununurra, Ord River, Western Australia: Prospects for a 'yabby' in the Kimberley

Doupé, R.G., Morgan, D.L., Gill, H.S. and Rowland, A.J. (2004) Introduction of redclaw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus (von Martens) to Lake Kununurra, Ord River, Western Australia: Prospects for a 'yabby' in the Kimberley. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 87 (4). pp. 187-191.

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    Abstract

    The recent introduction of redclaw crayfish for aquaculture to the Ord River region of Western Australia has been followed by the detection of a ‘wild’ population in Lake Kununurra. A gut survey of the lake’s fish fauna was used to estimate the degree of assimilation of redclaw crayfish into the lake’s food chain, however very few crayfish were found in only two catfish species (Ariidae). These results leave us uncertain of whether this low detection rate is due to either low numbers of redclaw crayfish in the lake, or that alternative food resources in the lake means that predation of redclaw crayfish is either due to opportunism or is of dietary insignificance. A further possibility is that the survey was undertaken at a time too soon to allow redclaw establishment and assimilation into the lake ecosystem. Whichever, translocating non-endemic freshwater crayfish into novel environments inevitably raises the possibilities of competitive interactions between the introduced and endemic species, food web alterations via predation and grazing pressure, the addition of symbionts, habitat alterations, and disease introductions. An account of how the introduction of a non-endemic crayfish causes all or some of these problems is yet to be adequately described in Australia, however there is an urgent need for such an assessment and the opportunity is now available at Lake Kununurra.

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
    School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
    Publisher: Royal Society of Western Australia
    Copyright: 2004 Royal Society of Western Australia
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/5769
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