On the first day of the Tarkine BioBlitz, ‘lobster man’ Todd Walsh found the second-biggest Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish he’s ever caught.
“I was lucky enough to trap a massive male Giant Freshwater Crayfish. This big boy weighed over 3 kilos with only one full-size claw. With 2 full-size claws, he would have tipped the scales at close to 5 kilograms. This large male is the biggest I have trapped in almost 40 years”, Todd Walsh said.
“The site was low in sediment, with superb bush extending as far as the eye can see. This location been recommended for protection for over a decade and this huge creature is an example of how these animals will thrive in near pristine environments.”
“For 20 years the Giant Freshwater Crayfish has been listed as a priority species under the Regional Forest Agreement; we’ve had governments trumpet how important it is and yet not one of them has put a hectare aside specifically for this animal.”
“It is now well past time for government to put selected areas aside to ensure these giant specimens are no longer such a rare occurrence”, Todd Walsh said.
“We’ve located 30,000 hectares that, if protected from logging and loss of riverside habitat, would secure the future of this wonderful animal.”
The Giant Freshwater Crayfish was tagged and released without harm.
A night survey of the threatened Keppel Creek Forest, led by Tasmanian entomologist Dr Peter McQuillan, found a stunning array of creatures, with several species yet to be identified.
“We collected about 150 species in 2 hours, mostly moths and beetles, including at least two species which have not been scientifically named before. Many of these insects depend on old-growth trees, feeding on decaying wood on the ground. We found various species of longicorn beetles and a wide variety of leaf-litter feeding moths, which are important in the carbon cycle of forests, a predatory native Victaphanta snail and a beautiful jewel beetle which depends upon Myrtle beech forests”, Dr McQuillan said.
There were many small species collected which will take some laboratory time to identify more fully.
The Tarkine BioBlitz, based just outside Smithon, continues till Sunday.
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
Todd Walsh 0439 693 377
Images Courtesy of Mark Horstman and Tim Cooper