Cherax cainii (smooth marron)
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Cherax cainii Austin and Ryan, 2002
Preferred Common Name
- smooth marron
Other Scientific Names
- Chaeraps tenuimanus Smith, 1912
- Cherax tenuimanus (Smith, 1912)
International Common Names
- English: marron; marron crayfish
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Cherax cainii is a robust freshwater crayfish species originally native to Southwest Australia. Due to its high aquaculture interest, the species has been largely translocated in Australia, being now widespread in a variety of natural and artificial water bodies of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. In Kangaroo Island (South Australia) it is considered a significant pest (Government of South Australia, 2013). Mainly for commercial aquaculture reasons, the species has also been introduced to several countries around the world, namely New Zealand, North America, Japan, Chile, South Africa and Zambia. However, there are no reports of current populations established in the wild in these countries.
The introduction of this species into new habitats is cause for concern due to their potential ability to compete with and displace native species, cause significant habitat alteration and introduce associated undesirable parasites and diseases. At the moment, the largest concern is related to its increasingly dense populations in the Margaret River (Australia), where the species seems to outcompete and hybridize with the endemic and critically endangered C. tenuimanus (Graaf et al., 2009).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Crustacea
- Class: Malacostraca
- Subclass: Eumalacostraca
- Order: Decapoda
- Suborder: Reptantia
- Unknown: Parastacoidea
- Family: Parastacidae
- Genus: Cherax
- Species: Cherax cainii
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The taxonomy of Cherax species is complex and the status of a number of species is still in dispute. The smooth marron had been known as Cherax tenuimanus since 1912 until genetic studies by Austin and Ryan (2002) demonstrated that C. tenuimanus was not a homogeneous species and comprised two genetically distinct forms. As the original description of the marron was based on specimens from the Margaret River area (Australia), the form native to this river system retains the name C. tenuimanus and is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN red list (see http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/4618/0). The new species name Cherax cainii is now used for the more widespread marron species that is used in aquaculture worldwide.
DescriptionTop of page
In females, oviduct pores are located at the base of the third or middle pair of legs, whereas in males, the genital papillae are located at the base of the fifth pair of legs, nearest the tail.
DistributionTop of page
C. cainii is native to the main permanent rivers in the forested, high-rainfall areas in the southwest of Western Australia. Its distribution extends as far east as Esperance and as far north as Geraldton. International interest in its aquaculture potential has resulted in the species being introduced to Chile, Ecuador, Great Britain (indoor intensive culture), Malawi, New Zealand, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Japan, southeastern and Central USA, China, the Caribbean (Morrissy et al., 1990; Alderman and Wickins, 1996) and other Australian states. Although few of these industries outside Australia have been successful, in the late 1990s C. cainii farming expanded rapidly in both Western Australia and South Australia. C. cainii is currently farmed in Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales. Areas in Australia potentially suitable for farming C. cainii are determined by temperature, water supply and the presence of clay soils suitable for ponds (Lawrence et al., 1995).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|Japan||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|Malawi||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|Zimbabwe||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|USA||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|Chile||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|Ecuador||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|UK||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|Australia||Present||Native||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|-South Australia||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|-Western Australia||Present||Native||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
|New Zealand||Present||Introduced||Lawrence and Jones, 2002|
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|China||Aquaculture (pathway cause)||Unknown||No||No|
|Japan||Aquaculture (pathway cause)||Unknown||No||No|
|South Africa||Aquaculture (pathway cause)||Unknown||No||No|
|Zambia||South Africa||Aquaculture (pathway cause)||Individual||No||No||Mikkola (1996)||Introduced by CJ Grubb|
|Zimbabwe||Aquaculture (pathway cause)||Unknown||No||No|
|USA||Aquaculture (pathway cause)||Unknown||No||No|
ClimateTop of page
|A - Tropical/Megathermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually||Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Dissolved oxygen (mg/l)||<3||Harmful||Adult|
|Dissolved oxygen (mg/l)||6||Optimum||Adult|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||<6-8||Optimum||Adult|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||>15||Harmful||Adult|
|Water pH (pH)||7.0||8.5||Optimum||Adult|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||24||Optimum||Adult|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||<12.5||>30||Harmful||Adult|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||Positive|
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Cherax tenuimanus (hairy marron)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered)||Competition||Graaf, 2002|
Uses ListTop of page
Human food and beverage
- Fresh meat
- Live product for human consumption
ReferencesTop of page
Alderman DJ, Wickins JF, 1996. Crayfish culture. Lowestoft, UK, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Directorate of Fisheries Research, 76:23 pp.
Austin CM, Ryan SG, 2002. Allozyme evidence for new species of freshwater crayfish of the genus Cherax Erichson (Decapoda: Parastacidae) from the south-west of Western Australia. Invertebrate Systematics, 16:357–367.
Beatty S, 2005. Translocations of freshwater crayfish: contributions from life histories, trophic relations and diseases of three species in Western Australia. Western Australia, Australia: Murdoch University.
Beatty S, Morgan D, Gill H, 2005. Role of life history strategy in the colonisation of Western Australian aquatic systems by the introduced crayfish Cherax destructor Clark, 1936. Hydrobiologia, 549:219-237.
Beatty SJ, 2006. The diet and trophic positions of translocated, sympatric populations of Cherax destructor and Cherax cainii in the Hutt River, Western Australia: evidence of resource overlap. Marine and Freshwater Research, 57(8):825-835.
Beatty SJ, Morgan DL, Gill HS, 2004. Biology of a translocated population of the large freshwater crayfish, Cherax cainii Austin & Ryan, 2002 in a Western Australian river. Crustaceana, 77(11):1329-1351.
Government of South Australia, 2013. Marron (Cherax cainii) factsheet. Biosecurity South Australia. http://pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0008/214748/Marron_Factsheet.doc
Graaf, M. de, Lawrence, C., Vercoe, P., 2009. Rapid replacement of the critically endangered hairy marron by the introduced smooth marron (Decapoda, Parastacidae) in the Margaret River (Western Australia)., Crustaceana, 82(11):1469-1476 http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/cr/2009/00000082/00000011/art00010
Holker DS, 1989. Marron - Cherax tenuimanus. Unpublished report, 16 pp.
Jussila J, Evans LH, 1996. On the factors afecting marron, Cherax tenuimanus, grown in intensive culture. Freshwater Crayfish, 11:428-440.
Lawrence C, Jones C, 2002. Cherax. In: Holdich DM, ed. Biology of freshwater crayfish. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science, 702 pp.
Lawrence CS, Morrissy NM, Penn J, Jacoby K, 1995. Yabbies (Cherax albidus). Aquaculture WA, No. 4. 4 pp.
Lynas J, Storey A, Knott B, 2007. Introduction and spread of crayfish (Parastacidae) in Western Australia and their potential to displace indigenous species. In: Biological invaders in inland waters: profiles, distribution and threats [ed. by Gherardi, F.]. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 577-596.
Mikkola H, 1996. Alien freshwater crustacean and indigenous mollusc species with aquaculture potential in eastern and southern Africa. South African Journal of Aquatic Science, 22:90-99.
Mills BJ, Morrissy, NM, Huner, JV, 1994. Cultivation of freshwater crayfishes in Australia. In: Huner JV, ed. Freshwater Crayfish Aquaculture, New York, USA: The Haworth Press, 217-289.
Moloney J, 1993. Feeding in freshwater crayfish. Aquaculture Sourcebook 5, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia: Turtle Press.
Morrissy NM, 1976. Aquaculture of marron, Cherax tenuimanus (Smith). Part 1. Site selection and the potential of marron for aquaculture. Part 2. Breeding and early rearing. Fisheries Research Bulletin, Western Australia, No. 17. 27 + 32 pp.
Morrissy NM, 1984. Assessment of artificial feeds for battery culture of a freshwater crayfish, marron, Cherax tenuimanus (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Report (WA Department of Fisheries and Wildlife), 63:1-24.
Morrissy NM, 1990. Optimum and favourable temperatures for growth of Cherax tenuimanus (Smith) (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 41:735-746.
Morrissy NM, 1992. An introduction to marron and freshwater crayfish farming in Western Australia. Fisheries Department of Western Australia, Australia.
Morrissy NM, 1992. Feed development for marron, Cherax tenuimanus, in Western Australia. In: Allan GD, Dall W, eds. Proceedings of the Aquaculture Nutrition Workshop, Salamander Bay, 15-17 April 1991, Australia, Salamander Bay, NSW Fisheries, Brackish Water Fish Culture Research Station, 72-76.
Morrissy NM, Bird C, Cassells G, 1995. Density-dependent growth of a freshwater crayfish, Cherax tenuimanus. Freshwater Crayfish, 10:560-568.
Morrissy NM, Evans L, Huner JV, 1990. Australian freshwater crayfish: aquaculture species. World Aquaculture, 21:113-122.
Mosig J, 1999. Hothouse yabbies keep growing all winter. Austasia Aquaculture Magazine, 5:3-5.
O'Sullivan D, Camkin J, LaiKoon AC, Joseph R, 1994. Reducing predation on freshwater crayfish farms. Aquaculture Sourcebook 9. Hobart, Tasmania, Australia: Turtle Press.
Thorne T, 1995. Fish health for fish farmers in Western Australia. Australia: Fisheries Western Australia.
Whisson GJ, 1999. Interaction between juvenile marron (Cherax tenuimanus) and fingerling silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus) in a recirculating tank system. Freshwater Crayfish, 12:593-603.
Wickins JF, Lee DO’C, 2002. Crustacean farming. Ranching and culture. Second edition. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science.
ContributorsTop of page
Uma Sabapathy Allen
Human Sciences, CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8DE, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
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