Commensalism used by freshwater crayfish species to survive drying in seasonal habitats

Johnston, Kerrylyn and Robson, Belinda J. 2009, Commensalism used by freshwater crayfish species to survive drying in seasonal habitats, Invertebrate biology, vol. 128, no. 3, pp. 269-275, doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7410.2009.00169.x.

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Title Commensalism used by freshwater crayfish species to survive drying in seasonal habitats
Author(s) Johnston, Kerrylyn
Robson, Belinda J.
Journal name Invertebrate biology
Volume number 128
Issue number 3
Start page 269
End page 275
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc
Place of publication United States
Publication date 2009
ISSN 1077-8306
Keyword(s) drought refuges
gramastacus insolitus
Summary Gramastacus insolitus is a very small non-burrowing Australian freshwater crayfish with a restricted distribution, occurring almost exclusively in seasonal habitats throughout its range. It is listed as a threatened species but its strategy for surviving dry periods was unknown. Eight seasonal surveys of crayfish distribution showed that members of G. insolitus were never found at sites that were outside the distribution of two larger burrowing freshwater crayfish species, Geocharax falcata and Cherax destructor. Excavation of 80 burrows of members of G. falcata and C. destructor in three different seasonal habitats in the Grampians National Park, Victoria, Australia, revealed that individuals of G. insolitus found refuge from drying by estivating in cracks and shallow depressions at the side of the main burrow tunnels constructed by larger species. Members of G. insolitus were not found estivating at the surface, such as under fallen wood, nor was it usually found in crayfish burrows unoccupied by the host crayfish. This study indicates that members of G. insolitus are commensal upon larger crayfish species, using their burrows to survive the seasonal drying of their habitat. Conservation strategies for populations of G. insolitus will need to consider co-existing species of burrowing crayfish.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1744-7410.2009.00169.x
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, The Authors
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