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Hi I'm Spike: Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus hemicirratulus)  by Travis Easton
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Hi I'm Spike: Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus hemicirratulus) by 


I found spike while walking along a track in Mt Worth State Park while on one of my waterfall hunting expeditions. I’ve tried to identify what species of yabby/ crustacean thingy it is but couldn’t find anything spiky like this critter (any clues towards working this out would be greatly appreciated).

Update: According to jezzavw this criter is a Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus hemicirratulus).

I found it on a ridge top miles from the closest water course (where I’m used to seeing yabbies) and instead of running back down its hole it sat and posed for me. Waiting patiently as I pulled my Gitzo tripod apart so I could mount the centre rod and camera upside down and much closer to the ground, attach my extension tube and sit nice and still for the longish exposures. As it happened after shooting 70 frames I lost interest before he did and moved along, thanks spike (or should that be spikette) for modelling for me.

As an aside I always find it a little odd when the primary promoted tourist feature of a nature park is the fact that us humans tried to destroy it. The park broshure for this park completely ignores the fact it has three lovely waterfalls and instead concentrates on where all the old logging mills were located (the same thing happens in the parks around Powelltown). It’s like saying “Hey wow look at this cool logging mill ruin that was part of the machinery used to decimate this area that you are now enjoying because we closed down after cutting all the trees down,” weird.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D mkII
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM with a 24mm extension tube @ 64mm
Filter: UV
ISO: 640
Shutter Speed: 1/8 sec
Aperture: f/22
WB: Auto
When: 7:32am on 14/11/2010

10% of all profits go to the Wilderness Society

For more critters like this check out my Fauna gallery.

Australia’s rugged landscape is an important part of my life and over many years I have explored some of the more remote parts of it on foot, ski, kayak and rope. I usually travel alone so I can take my time capturing the essence of these places without distraction. Life slows down and after a while I feel like I begin to merge with the land, nature takes me into her confidence and changes me. I hope you enjoy the fruit of these excursions.

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Comments

  • LindaR
    LindaRabout 4 years ago

    how amazing ~ s/he resembles a lobster of some kind, but no kind of true crustacean I know of would be found that far away from water ~ but I’m on the other side of the globe too. How big was this? Hope you figure it out and let us know ~ you’ve got a good portrait to go by ;) xx

  • Hi Linda, about 10cm long, might visit the library tomorrow and look into it a bit more, ta.

    – Travis Easton

  • fototaker
    fototakerabout 4 years ago

    wow!! amazing story and awesome capture and LuCK!! when i come across something live, it runs away!! great image but lov the story!! also wishing Linda didn’t mention lobster!!

  • Crayfish… mmmmm, Lobster… ahhhhh, prawns…. droool….crab…. yummmm. Um now where was I… Oh yerr thanks, I’m going to run away now… ;-)

    – Travis Easton

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeabout 4 years ago

  • Mel Brackstone
    Mel Brackstoneabout 4 years ago

    Now there’s a worry, if the yabbies are moving to the top of the ridges, does that mean that floods are going to be very high? Great shot, Travis!

  • Maybe I should call the little fella Noah not Spike, cheers Mel.

    – Travis Easton

  • Donovan wilson
    Donovan wilsonabout 4 years ago

    Hi mate he looks like a type of mud yabbie they have small tails and cant swim they live in the ground and can be a long way from water ..PS found a new waterfall today.

  • Thanks for the info Don, ooohhh do tell about new drop.

    After the rain yesterday I got out myself to follow up some leads and ended up visiting seven new ones west of Melbourne. Graeme Wheeler the guy who wrote the preface for my Prom book gave me a Victorian Waterfall list from a 1967 edition of ‘The Victorian Walker’ with 14 drops near Melb I’d never heard of before, all it gives you is a river name and a rough area via a dot on a map of Victoria so I’ve been buying new maps and scouring water courses for likely locations. Had a great day, cheers.

    – Travis Easton

  • ChrisCoombes
    ChrisCoombesabout 4 years ago

    Travis, many of the crayfish species can have very localised distributions. This is likely to be one of those species that is unique to the park. It may (or may not) be one of the Engaeus species (such as hemicirratulus or phyllocercus). As with most crustaceans, provided that they dont get too hot & cook (and i dont mean in a pot) and they keep their gills wet, they can travel long distances over land. Some species can live exclusively out of the water depending on their environment & adaptations. There is ovbiously plenty of moisture on the grass so it could easily keep its gills wet as it explored for new territory.

  • Whoa, thanks Chris for the info, fascinating stuff, given me a great starting point to find out what the critter actually is, appreciated.

    – Travis Easton

  • iamnirak
    iamnirakover 3 years ago

    I once had a yabbie called Johan and he use to escape out of his tank and you use to always find him hiding under the bed.

  • jezzavw
    jezzavwabout 2 years ago

    hi i live around the corner of mount worth state park and i have currently got 10 of these Engaeus hemicirratulus crayfish they are called burrowing crayfish and they live down burrows with a dish in the bottom filled with water and i think this link will be helpfull :) http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_fil...

  • Thanks so much J, that info was fascinating and great to finally have it identified, lovely neck of the woods to live in. Found a waterfall near Poowong last week but not as nice as the Mt Worth ones.

    – Travis Easton

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