Monday, 4 December 2017

Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish: Astacopsis gouldi


The worlds largest crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi, also known as Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish or Tasmanian Lobster.   Probably the most amazing crustacean in the world.  Shockingly huge.  Up to  6 kg!!!  They are even reports of them preying on platypus. I think they are also world's largest invertebrate, but quote me on it because there also giant coconut bandit crabs.  

These guys live only in Norther Tasmania.  It's the only place where you can find them.  I have not heard of any in private aquarium or in captivity in general.  That probably because they are  protected species.  They were in danger of being overfished or overcrayed))) Mostly due to the fact that they have no natural predators and lack general fear of humans.   That, and the fact that Astacopsis gouldi only breed once every two years.

Astacopsis gouldi are omnivorous, just like the majority of crayfish.  They are known to eat  decaying wood, leaves and their associated microbes. They may also eat small fish, insects, rotting animal flesh and other detritus when available.  Basically, they would eat anything they can get their giant claws on))   

Just like the other crayfish, Tasmanian Giant Lobster can range in colors from dark brown to all the way to bright blue.  I am sure there are probably some individuals with red and yellow color, but they have not been photographed yet.

Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish take extremely long time to become sexual mature.  Female crayfish reach maturity only at 14 years of age.  Males take slightly less time, only 9 years.  The specie itself is very long lived, over 60 years!!!

Females mate and spawn only once  every two years in the fall, right after a summer moult.  They produce over 1000 eggs.  However, the actual gestation takes over nine months.  Yes, nine month!!! It's crazy long. The babies remain with their mother for a few months as well.  With such slow reproduction rate, it is no wonder that Tasmanian Crayfish are endangered. 

It would be extremely interesting to keep this giant crayfish specie as a pet. But I guess, it will never happen because they are protected. Plus, I am sure it's not ethical.  However, I am sure some Russian oligarch already has an aquarium full of them)))

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Каштан Фарма

1 comment:

  1. Well the largest invert is definitely the giant squid, or maybe one of those really big jellyfish, not any kind of land arthropod.
    Really cool article, though.