Cherax tenuimanus

Common name:


Scientific name:

Cherax tenuimanus

Alternative common names:


Marron are large, freshwater crayfish which can grow to more than 380mm in length. They are one of the largest freshwater crayfish species in the world, with specimens having been recorded in excess of 2kg. They have tufts of hair-like bristles on their carapace and other body surfaces.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Western Australia.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 2.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape.

How does it spread?

It is spread in running water and through intentional introductions for aquaculture.

Why is it a problem?

They compete with indigenous species.

What does it look like?

Description: This hairy-shelled species has jet black pincers and a paler olive-green to brown body. The underside is brown and females have areas of red colouration on the underside and some splashes of purple. The head and internal organs of all crayfish are protected by the carapace and the six segments of the abdomen are individually encased with a flexible membrane between them to allow movement. They have a pair of large pincers at the front end and four pairs of walking legs.

Habitat: This species is found in deep, freshwater rivers on sandy stretches with plenty of organic matter.

Breeding: Marron breed in spring during their second year of life. The number of eggs produced per individual ranges from 90-900 and is dependent on the size of the female. Eggs are carried by the female beneath its tail (pleopods) for a period of 12-16 weeks, whereafter they hatch and undergo two development stages. After this period, free swimming larvae resembling the adults are released.

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