Assessing trap bias in the endemic Australian genus of freshwater crayfish, Euastacus

Publication Name

Marine and Freshwater Research


Freshwater crayfish are among the most endangered animal groups in the world. Appropriate management requires an understanding of sampling bias when assessing their distribution and abundance. We evaluated the effectiveness of a variety of sampling methods for detecting freshwater crayfish (genus Euastacus) in situ and potential biases towards individual-level traits associated with these methods. We also experimentally manipulated the presence of crayfish within opera house traps to determine the effects of trap residency on capture rate and the characteristics of crayfish approaching the traps. Baited hoop nets and baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVS) detected significantly more crayfish than did unbaited video surveys (RUVS). Crayfish captured in baited hoop nets were significantly larger than were crayfish measured in the BRUV and RUV surveys, suggesting that hoop nets were biased to capturing larger animals. The experiment demonstrated that a greater number of crayfish entered empty rather than occupied traps; however, there were no differences in their body sizes. We highlight the importance of optimising sampling for freshwater crayfish to ensure reliable and robust population estimates. This is of critical importance as many have highly restricted ranges and face numerous threats. We contend that this will assist in informing conservation strategies to protect aquatic species at risk.

Open Access Status

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