FACT SHEET 4
• Crayfish are a type of saltwater crustacean that are known as spiny lobsters in other parts of the world. They are different to the majority of lobsters as they have no claws (although not all lobsters have claws).
• Like crabs they have complex mouth formations that consist of sharp blade-like structures used to cut the food before passing it through the mouth.
• Crayfish are mostly detritivores, meaning they feed on left-overs and other dead material scattered around the sand or under rocks.
• They live in crevices during the day where they hide from predators and come out in the sandy lagoon area during the night where they can feed.
• Crayfish predators include animals large enough to crush their hard skeleton such as big fish and some sharks.
• Like sea cucumbers they are important for the reef’s ecology as they clean the sediments of dead matter and recycle this organic matter back into the environment.
• Humans eat crayfish for their tasty meat; however it is important not to catch females carrying eggs as this can lead to population declines.
Interesting Fact: When threatened they will snap their tails and rapidly disappear backwards to escape.
ReefED GBR Explorer: http://www.reefed.edu.au/home/explorer/animals/marine_invertebrates/crustaceans