Caught and Coloured: Zoology Illustrations from Colonial Victoria




Yabby, Cherax destructor

Image Details
  • Plate Number: 29
  • Media: Lithographic proof - Lithographic ink, watercolour, indian ink and pencil on paper
  • Lithographer: Ludwig Becker
  • Artist: Ludwig Becker
  • Primary inscriptions: Ludwig Becker del. & lith.
  • Secondary inscriptions: 1.2.3.4.
Transcript from the Prodromus of Zoology

Plate 29. Yabber Crayfish, Astacopsis bicarinatus (now known as Yabby, Cherax destructor)

This species grows to six inches in length, from snout to end of tail, and varies considerably in color, some having the body and abdomen dark-olive, others paler or with a yellow tinge, and some are of a dull pale-brown or horn color; the large anterior pair of claws are always blue with red joints, and the flexible part of the five tail-fins dull-brown. The smaller pairs of legs are blue, or greenish, or whitish in different living individuals. These are eaten in great numbers by the aborigines, and by some other people who like them. They are commonly known about Melbourne by the native name of Yabber or Yabbie.

This species does not seem to inhabit the flowing rivers or streams, but is abundant in the quarry -holes and swamps round Melbourne, and in most waterholes in the colony, doing great damage to dams and reservoirs from burrowing holes through the banks. The individuals live for a long time underground in their burrows after the pools of water on the surface have dried up. I can find no difference between the specimens from the swamps of the Murray district on our northern boundary and those near Melbourne.