Giant Tasmanian Freshwater Lobster, NW Tasmania
|Host: Todd Walsh
Length of visit: 1 day
Number of guests: 1 or more
Fee as of 2004: (Email the host below for final prices): In Australian dollars:
We can walk into the prehistoric like North West Tasmanian forest beneath massive Tree Ferns and Myrtle giants. A towering canopy of Blackwoods, Sassafrass and Eucalypts keep the sun from penetrating, cooling the forest. Moss covered logs, native shrubs and smaller ferns carpet the forest floor.
We can see the clear tannin stained creeks filled with logs and other plant material. The cold water cascading over millions of rocks, which hide the teeming macro-invertebrate life, including juvenile lobsters.
We can scan the creek for the possible sighting of the reclusive and cryptic giant. hear the stories of giants being spotted, making their way slowly up the creek. Learn about the waterways inhabitants from the larger fish species, to the smaller unknown species such as the magnificent stoneflies, water pennies and caddis flies.
We will learn about the freshwater ecosystem from someone who has spent much of his life, exploring, fishing, studying and ultimately protecting this fabulous wilderness.
This walk requires excellent fitness and is not recommended for those with health problems.
On these tours we may do survey work in which you may help catch, tag, measure and release the giants back into their unique habitat, assisting in the protection and long-term survival of Tasmania's and the world's largest freshwater crustacean. The surveys take place in many varied locations in North West Tasmania. You could be capturing the rare blue lobsters in the far North West or the giant specimens in various regions. Walk up the shallows to capture the tiny juveniles as they hide from predators in their early years. See large rivers and small creeks. No two surveys are the same as they are actual scientific research operations.
THE TASMANIAN GIANT FRESHWATER LOBSTER, Astacopsis gouldi
Diet and Activity:
Lobsters, by nature are shy, secretive animals. Ideal habitat is an intact stream catchment of several stream sizes including rivulets and small headwaters. These should flow and meander through a relatively undisturbed well vegetated catchment containing snags, pools and undercut, but not eroding, banks. Water temperature should seldom exceed 18*C have high oxygen content and be clear of sediment.
Juvenile lobsters have been located in shallow faster flowing areas known as riffle zones. It is suspected they migrate into smaller stream zones including semi-permanent creeks. It is in these areas that they are safer from many predators such as larger fish (blackfish, trout) and platypus, which struggle to swim in the very shallow sections. The juveniles find cover amongst the cobble rocks and woody debris and remain in this area until large enough to move into the deeper areas known as runs. Runs are deeper flowing straight sections of a catchment. Many sub adult (<100mm CPL) have been located in these areas. It is suspected that these sub adults are not large enough to enter the domain of the adult lobsters, the deeper pools.
Adults take refuge in still, deep pools, which are sheltered and well shaded beneath submerged and decaying timber. Adults can live in larger numbers (up to 20 individuals) in one large pool. Although sometimes aggressive, lobsters appear to tolerate one another in these pools. Life Span It is estimated that lobsters may live beyond 40 years. Historically lobsters weighing 4 to 6 kg were reported however animals weighing 2 to 3 kg are now considered large.
Female lobsters mature after about 14 years, weighing about 500g with a carapace (head shell) length (CPL) of 120mm. Males mature more quickly at around 300g and approximately 76mm CPL in about 9 years.
Why so Threatened?
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