NATIVE animal experts have warned yabby hunters about killing endangered species.
The Otways cray is on the endangered species list in Victoria, but it looks like the common yabby.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment has reminded people to make sure they catch the right animals when yabbying.
DSE biodiversity officer Jodie Honan said people could legally catch the common yabby, but she said there were 38 species of freshwater crayfish in Victoria, and 27 were threatened species.
“The best way to avoid catching the wrong crustacean is to be aware of the other species that might be present in the area,” she said.
Ms Honan said people could identify freshwater crayfish by checking the shape and size of the body and patterns of spines and grooves.
“The most yabby-like of the threatened species are the Geocharax species, also known as ‘black yabbies’ or ‘bush yabbies’,” she said.
“These are found in Western Victoria and in the Otways.”
Museum Victoria has made a Field Guide to Victorian Fauna that is available as a smart phone app to help people identify crayfish.
There are also details at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/fisheries/recreational-fishing/catch-limits-and-closed-seasons/crustaceans.
“If you catch a threatened freshwater crayfish please return it to the water quickly and gently,” Ms Honan said.