Native: na•tiv /náytiv/

Native means born or produced in a specific region or country, but it can also apply to persons or things that were introduced from elsewhere some time ago...

Excerpt from The Pocket Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus
By Elizabeth Jewell


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Yabbys and Marrons

Top: Marron Left: Marron Right: Yabby (they aren't all blue)

Among other things Australia is famous for its crustaceans. What American hasn’t heard of the famous Australian lobster tail? Imagine our surprise when learning that no such thing exists in Australia. There are still plenty of other delicious crustaceans in the vast country though. Besides prawns there are yabbies, marrons, and crayfish and one thing is for sure, they’re all quite good.

It took a while to figure out that in Australia a crayfish is what North Americans would call a lobster. A yabbie is what most Americans would call a crayfish or langoustine. But a marron is quite another creature. It may not have an American counterpart. It lives in freshwater and resembles a large crayfish but doesn’t at all taste like one.

The marron tastes more like an amphibian than a crustacean. The taste and texture are similar to frog legs and like the frog the marron is incredibly sensitive to its environment. It requires a constant supply of cold, circulating water to survive and with Australia’s continuing droughts their habitat is disappearing. Huge manmade ponds are now used to farm marrons in Australia which will ensure the future existence of this fragile creature but wild marron are rare and because of this rarity they are quite a delicacy.

The yabby doesn’t have it quite so difficult. It is hardy and can withstand rises and falls in water levels because it burrows. The yabby effectively hibernates, or more accurately, aestivates, until water returns. It can wait up to seven years if it must. Like lobster the yabby dines on detritus making its flesh incredibly flavorful. Two species exist - fresh water and marine. They are plentiful and children enjoy catching them in streams just like American crayfish.
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Reader Comments (4)

Never heard of yabby, wondering what it's called in French...One thing I would definitely enjoy in Australia would be seafood, but not fried ;o)
Wednesday, 3 February 2010 | Unregistered Commentercitronetvanille
I never knew lobster was referred to as crayfish in Australia, and Yabby is a new one for me too! ---Oh to be feasting on crustaceans in the warm Australian summer sun~lucky you!
Thursday, 4 February 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDebi (Table Talk)
I grew up on a sheep farm in central Victoria, Australia. During the summer months, we swam in our dam (a ‘pond’ that supplied water to the house). The yabbies burrowed in the mud at the water’s edge, making our exit from the dam a light-footed one (for fear that their claws might attach to our toes). As a young girl, I ate my first yabbie when a group of visiting workers trapped some from the dam and cooked them in a pot of water on their camp stove. They handed me a warm, peeled tail with a simple squeeze of lemon juice. It was delightful.
Friday, 5 February 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn James
good to know! i'm always ready to try something new, especially shellfish.
Friday, 12 February 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaiulani
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