Molecular taxonomy and evolution of freshwater crayfish of the Genus Cherax (Decapoda
: Parastacidae) from northern Australia and New Guinea

  • Rury Eprilurahman

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    Taxonomic and evolutionary research of freshwater crayfish of the genus Cherax from tropical Australia and New Guinea (Papua-Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) is limited. The objective of this research is to place these Cherax species into a taxonomic and evolutionary framework following on from studies on Australian species using molecular genetic data with a special focus on species from Papua, Indonesia.

    This research presents an analysis of two data sets, one consisting of mt16S rRNA sequences from 134 samples and the second a combination of four genes (12S rRNA, 16S rRNA, COI, GAPDH) from a subset of these samples to test species boundaries and establish phylogenetic hypotheses for New Guinean and selected northern Australian species. These data supports the recognition of 25 Cherax species, including three recently described species and five new species discovered in this study from Papua, Indonesia. Two main clades were identified based on phylogenetic analyses. The New Guinean crayfish does not form a monophyletic group but share relationships with northern Australian species at different evolutionary depths, which is consistent with the geological history of the region. The diverse highland Cherax fauna of the Wissel Lakes form a well support monophyletic lineage but show minimal molecular divergence, which is at odds with their high morphological diversity. The results of this study fill a major gap in the understanding of the systematics and evolution history of the genus Cherax, one of the most diverse and widespread genera of freshwater crayfish.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorChris Austin (Supervisor), Mark Barry Schultz (Supervisor) & Nu-Wei Wei (Supervisor)

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