A new species, Cherax snowden sp. n., from the Oinsok River Drainage, Sawiat District in the central part of the Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) Peninsula, West Papua, Indonesia, is described, figured and compared with the closest related species, Cherax holthuisi Lukhaup & Pekny, 2006. This species is collected and exported for ornamental purposes and its commercial name in the pet trade is “orange tip” or “green orange tip”. Both species may be easily distinguished morphologically or by using sequence divergence, which is substantial, for considering C. snowden sp. n. to be a new species.
Keywords: Crustacea, Decapoda, Parastacidae, Cherax snowden new species, freshwater crayfish, Oinsok River Drainage, Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) Peninsula, Irian Jaya, Indonesia, West Papua, pet trade
Family Parastacidae Huxley, 1879
Genus Cherax Erichson, 1846
Cherax snowden sp. n.
Etymology: The new species is named after the american freedom fighter Edward Joseph Snowden. He is honored due to of his extraordinary achievements in defense of justice, and freedom. The name is used as a noun in apposition.
Known only from tributary creeks to the Oinsok River, Sawiat District in the central part of the Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) Peninsula. The creeks from where these crayfish have been collected are shallow (20–60 cm) with a moderate flow, the water is clear, and has a pH of approx. 6.5. In most of the parts no water plants are present. The substrate of the creek is rocky, mostly covered with silt, stones and larger rocks..To improve the knowledge of the distribution of the species more collecting trips are necessary.
It is also necessary to briefly comment on the possible threats faced by the new species. As C. snowden sp. n. is collected in large numbers for the global aquarium trade, as well as for food for the growing local population, the crayfish population will invariably be adversely impacted. According to local collectors, the populations of the species have been decreasing in the last few years. Clearly, the continued collectiing of these crayfish for the trade is not a sustainable practice, and if the popularity of the species continues, a conservation management plan will have to be developed, potentially including a captive breeding program.
Christian Lukhaup, Jörn Panteleit and Anne Schrimpf. 2015. Cherax snowden, A New Species of Crayfish (Crustacea, Decapoda, Parastacidae) from the Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) Peninsula in Irian Jaya (West Papua), Indonesia. ZooKeys. 518: 1-14. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.518.6127