Tooru visits Australia. Part 4.


Another day, the weather was good to us again. Today we were going in search of the elusive swamp yabby. The boat was still in the water from the day before so I went down and retrieved it. When I got there one of those darn murray crayfish was trying to get in the boat.

About Swamp Yabbies

These yabbies are of the family Cherax, somehow or other they have escaped formal naming/nomenclature. Early museum notes make mention of yabby infested pastures and horses falling in crab holes. It is thought that farmers plowed these yabbies burrows and subsequently we are left with a number of pockets of 'swamp yabbies'. They are divided by salinity, farming and freeways.

Today they have been described at Cherax rotundas or Cherax c. I'm not convinced and neither are some others that this classification is correct. Still this is what makes crayfish interesting.

Morning on the Goulburn

Pesky critters these murray crayfish


 Tooru and I are off to 'swamp yabby country', I can't tell you where it is, left is where we stopped for breakfast. That's one of our Ozzie pioneers behind us. Some say he was a no good scoundrel, I think he was just a little misunderstood.

Below we met up with Geoff Edney, Susan Lawler and Max. Geoff is a real crayfish fanatic. He showed me some photos of an
undescribed species he found recently. Susan is half as bad, she is a DNA scientist and works at La Trobe University. She spent her youth with Keith Crandell of the Crayfish Homepage site. She has been studying swamp yabbies for quite some time.



At left Geoff, and a new crayfish he discovered here. Above here we have Max, Susan and Tooru, all happy to be in swamp yabby country which is shared with tiger snakes.





I call this luxury, we took Tooru's camper with us, it made a great mobile kitchen and crayfish headquarters. Okay funs over, best way known to get swamp yabbies is to get digging.


Geoff and Tooru go for it


That rising water makes it hard.


Geoff has gotten quite a few swamp yabbies this way. He is the 'guru' of swamp yabbying. So far he has only ever got one out of each burrow and they have always been male. It all adds to the mystery. We had a few things working against us. There had been a recent flood and this meant the water table had risen and as they digged the hole filled with water. I thought I'd try another approach.



What I've got here is an opera house net, so called because it looks a wee bit like the Sydney Opera House, Bait is tied in a pouch in the middle, the trap is closed and the yabbies can enter from either end. They are illegal to use in public waters. We were on private property so there use was okay. Geoff also holds a collection permit issued by the Department of Primary Industry.






The nets were placed in the billabong below, unfortunately the final outcome for the day was a bit sad, just one little old engaeus who insisted on keying himself. No swamp yabby, doesn't matter, I know where one lives that Tooru can see tomorrow.



Typical swamp country Enlargement here


A friendly Engaeus


Continued here


Photos by David Royal (Aust ) and Tooru Takenaka (Japan) Text by David Royal