Perhaps the best known freshwater crayfish in South Australia is the yabbie.
The prevalence of yabbies is influenced by a number of factors, particularly water temperature. Yabbies become more active during the warmer months of the year from spring to autumn.
Yabbies are extremely well adapted to the seasonality of arid Australia.
Yabbies are found throughout South Australia, living in ponds, rivers and both permanent and temporary water holes. When water holes dry out, the yabbie burrows to moist soil (the water table) and emerge when water refills the catchment area. Yabbies also occur in brackish water near the coast.
The best time to find yabbies is on the declining phase of a flood. Yabbies can remain underground for at least five years.
Generally, mating occurs in the spring and early summer and spawning reaches its peak between December and February. However, when conditions are right, yabbies can be in berry (carrying eggs) throughout the year.
Following spawning the female carries her eggs under her tail, where they incubate for three weeks.
During the first two years of life, the yabbie moults several times reaching a length of approximately ten centimetres.
In the third year of life the yabbie moults only twice and reaches a length of about thirteen centimetres. However, when conditions are right, yabbies can grow much larger – up to twenty-eight centimetres and above.
The main food consumed by yabbies is dead and decaying animal and plant material known as detritus. Yabbies are also opportunistic feeders, catching and eating small fish and crustaceans, as well as grazing on any aquatic vegetation that might be present. Yabbies also eat their old exoskeletons after moulting, mainly to increase reserves of calcium.
|Minimum legal length:||There are no size limits for yabbies|
|Personal daily bag limit:||200|
|Restrictions:||Female yabbies carrying eggs are totally protected and must be returned to the water immediately.|