Tuesday 14 March 2017

Cherax warsamsonicus: A new species of Crayfish from West Papua, Indonesia.

Crayfish of the genus Cherax are widely distributed in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia (where they are called 'Yabbies'). They are often large and colourful, and are widely traded in the aquarium trade in Europe, East Asia and North America, where, despite the genus being extensively studied, specimens belonging to no known species are often discovered. Identifying the origin of these specimens is often difficult, as the Crayfish are often pass through several different hands before reaching the retail market, and dealers themselves may not know where specimens come from.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 13 March 2017, Christian Lukhaup of Hinterweidenthal in Germany, Rury Eprilurahman of the Animal Systematics Laboratory at Universitas Gadjah Mada, and Thomas von Rintelen of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin at the Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, describe a new species of Cherax from West Papua, Indonesia.

The new species is named Cherax warsamsonicus, in reference to the Warsamson River of West Papua, where the species was found. The species is described from three male and one female specimens, with the males ranging from 73 mm to 109 mm in length, while the female was 73 mm. They have a green and red colouration, with large blue and white claws.

Cherax warsamsonicus, male from the Warsamson River, South Sorong Regency. Lukhaup et al. (2017).

The species was found on the Kepala Burung Peninsula in the Warsamson River and its tributaries. It favours shallow streams (20-60 cm deep) with clear, slightly acidic water and few plants. The Crayfish excavate burrows in the backs or under large rocks on the bottom.

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