Caught and Coloured: Zoology Illustrations from Colonial Victoria




Murray Spiny Crayfish, Euastacus armatus

Image Details
  • Plate Number: 15
  • Media: Lithographic proof - Lithographic ink, watercolour, indian ink and pencil on paper
  • Lithographer: Ludwig Becker
  • Artist: Ludwig Becker
  • Location: [S04/82 94] Australia, Northwest Shelf
  • Primary inscriptions: Ludwig Becker del. & lith.
  • Secondary inscriptions: 1.2.3.4.
  • Tertiary: Pl. 15
Transcript from the Prodromus of Zoology

Plate 15. Murray Lobster, Astacopsis serratus (now known as Murray Spiny Crayfish, Euastacus armatus), found in the Murray River

This gigantic species is now sent to the Melbourne market in considerable quantity from the Murray by railway for the table instead of lobsters, and is by far the most delicious of the few Victorian crustacea good for food.

All of the spines vary in size and number, not only in different individuals, but on the two sides of the same one. The blue color is very much stronger in some individuals than in others, and I notice (Bibl. Univ. 15 Mars, 1870) that some of the reddish Crayfish in the rivers of Switzerland are said by local observers to be blue when recently moulted. Some specimens are olive-green where the blue appears in others.

Very common in the Murray River, where it is caught by lowering a piece of bagging, with cords and floats to the four corners, with some flesh in the middle; this being pulled up every now and then shows three or four of the "Lobsters" feeding; a bit of meat at the end of a string suffices to catch them.