Once again we were able to import zebra crayfish. These crayfish experienced some name changes due to the fact that the freshwater crayfishes of New Guinea were little known prior to their aquaristic discovery. The animal originally entered the trade as Cherax misolicus, but it was thought to be more likely C. papuanus. Its valid name is now Cherax peknyi Lukhaup & Herbert, 2008. Very similar is Cherax alyciae, which was thought to be a color variant (“Blue Kong”) of C. peknyi before its scientific description in 2018. However, coloration is highly variable in crayfishes, even within the same population, so it cannot be used well to distinguish species. The most reliable way to recognize C. alyciae is that the adult males develop a soft, bubble-like bulge in the anterior region on the outer claw finger, but the males of C. peknyi do not.
Currently we have received very colorful animals, some of which show fiery red claws with overall lighter and reddish coloration, while others tend more in the blue direction. Cherax peknyi originates from the Fly River drainage in Papua New Guinea. It reaches a maximum length of 10-12 cm.
The Cherax crayfishes from New Guinea are well keepable and breedable aquarium animals. You only have to be aware of the fact that they are very addicted to hiding and usually leave their hiding place only at night and for feeding. They feed on dead foliage as their main food, and can be fed literally almost anything that ornamental fish will accept as food.
For our customers: the animals have code 483024 on our stock list. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
The diversity of the crayfishes of New Guinea is hard to keep track of. Most difficult is the decision, whether a freshly imported form is a color variant of a long known species or a new species; because the color variance within the species is enormous.
The Orange Tip is a very good crayfish to keep and breed in the aquarium. The only thing to know is that crayfish often have quite idiosyncratic ideas about how an aquarium should be set up and like to redecorate it. And they usually consider plants as food. But such trivialities one looks after these beauties with pleasure, isn’t it?
For our customers: the animals have code 481442 on our stockiest. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
These intensively colored crayfish originate from Papua New Guinea, where they are found on the Vogelkop Peninsula. „Irianto Red” is a colour variant of the Cherax snowden, which was only scientifically described in 2015, while Cherax holthuisi already received its scientific name in 2006; before that, C. holthuisi was known as “apricot crayfish“, while C. snowden was known in the hobby as Cherax sp. “Orange Tip” before its scientific description. Pictures of the “normal” colored C. snowden can be found here: https://www.aquariumglaser.de/fischarchiv/31-krebse-garnelen-krabben-muscheln-schnecken/cherax_sp_orange_tip_en/
Both species occur in nature in the neighbourhood, but are ecologically differently positioned, since C. holthuisi is rather living underground. Therefore the two crayfish species live – scientifically expressed – sympatrically (i.e. in the same occurrence area) but not syntopically (i.e. in the same biotope). We receive both species mostly mixed as wild catches, because they really look extraordinarily similar. The easiest way to distinguish them is by eye size, the eyes of C. holthuisi are much smaller than those of C. snowden.
The bright orange colouring of C. snowden “Irianto Red” is – as far as we know – pure in offspring. However, when putting together breeding pairs you have to be careful not to put together mixed pairs (snowden/holthuisi), in the aquarium Cherax species can hybridize with each other. Cherax holthuisi is quite colour-variable, besides the orange ones there are also grey, whitish, yellow or bluish individuals.
For our customers: C. snowden “Irianto Red” has code 481490, C. holthuisi code 483052 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
This crayfish was regarded as a particularly pretty variant of the zebra-lobster (Cherax peknyi) until recently and was called “Blue Kong” in the trade melodiously. Chris Lukhaup, Rury Eprilurahman and Thomas von Rintelen described it scientifically as Cherax alyciae in June 2018. We have just received these very attractive animals as wild catches from Indonesia.
Cherax alyciae is an almost ideal aquarium crayfish, as it is easy to keep and breed and, unlike many other crayfish, usually leaves the fish alone. However, it attacks aquatic plants and often digs them up during its expeditions through the aquarium. Therefore, only robust species are suitable here, ideally those that can be tied to stones and roots. The crayfish’s main food consists of dead leaves, of which there should always be enough in the aquarium.
For our customers. the animals have code 483028 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
The variety of colours of the crayfish on New Guinea is really amazing. In the trade it is often problematic to assign the import animals exactly to any species, because the colouring is also very variable within the species and only rarely all specimens of an import look the same.
Be that as it may: the form we were able to import now has a black-brown shell and was therefore initially referred to by us as Cherax sp. “Black Scorpion”. But Chris Lukhaup identified it as a member of the Cherax sp. “Blue Moon” species complex. The legs are blue, the tail fan has a wide orange hem, the scissor tips are not orange, which is an important characteristic.
These crayfish become 12-15 cm long and, like most New Guinea crayfish, are quite peaceful contemporaries. An essential part of the food of these animals is of plant origin. Therefore, it depends very much on the feeding, whether they more or also less destroying the aquarium´plants. To be on the safe side, precious plants should not be kept in a Cherax aquarium.
For our customers: the animals have code 481475 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Along with other species of Cherax,, which we have already introduced to you, we have received the Cherax sp. “Black Scorpion”. They are very attractive animals whose care and breeding does not differ significantly from that of the previously known Cherax forms from New Guinea.
For our customers: The animals have code 481473 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Finally we were able to import once more zebra lobsters. These crayfish had several changes in respect of the determination, because the freshwater crayfish from New Guinea were hardly know prior to their discovery as aquarium inhabitants. Initially they were imported under the name of C. misolicus, but it was guessed they might be closer to C. papuanus. They valid name s now Cherax peknyi Lukhaup & Herbert, 2008.
The colourful crayfish from New Guinea are easy to keep and breed in the aquarium, but one should be aware that they alwys try to hide and unsually leave their hiding places only by night and when they are fed. The basic food for all of them are dead leaves from trees, but they also accept literally all thinkable types of fish food accepted by ornamental fish.
For our customers: the animals have code 483024 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer