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Crayfish bio-gastroliths from eastern Australia and the middle Cretaceous distribution of Parastacidae

  • Phil R. Bell (a1), Russell D. C. Bicknell (a1) and Elizabeth T. Smith (a2)


Fossil crayfish are typically rare, worldwide. In Australia, the strictly Southern Hemisphere clade Parastacidae, while ubiquitous in modern freshwater systems, is known only from sparse fossil occurrences from the Aptian–Albian of Victoria. We expand this record to the Cenomanian of northern New South Wales, where opalized bio-gastroliths (temporary calcium storage bodies found in the foregut of pre-moult crayfish) form a significant proportion of the fauna of the Griman Creek Formation. Crayfish bio-gastroliths are exceedingly rare in the fossil record but here form a remarkable supplementary record for crayfish, whose body and trace fossils are otherwise unknown from the Griman Creek Formation. The new specimens indicate that parastacid crayfish were widespread in eastern Australia by middle Cretaceous time, occupying a variety of freshwater ecosystems from the Australian–Antarctic rift valley in the south, to the near-coastal floodplains surrounding the epeiric Eromanga Sea further to the north.


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Author for correspondence: Phil R. Bell, Email:


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Crayfish bio-gastroliths from eastern Australia and the middle Cretaceous distribution of Parastacidae

  • Phil R. Bell (a1), Russell D. C. Bicknell (a1) and Elizabeth T. Smith (a2)


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