Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

yabby the Australian name for certain crayfish, notably the semi-aquatic ones of the genus Cherax, and especially C. destructor, is a version of the Aboriginal name yappée. The term is not used in all parts of Australia, nor does it mean the same thing in all the parts where it is used; but the usage indicated is heavily dominant.

The range of the yabby covers something like a third of Australia, extending north from Victoria and S. Australia. Maximum dimensions are 16 cm (6") and 150 g (5 oz). Early settlers in Australia did not take to the yabby, although the Aboriginals could be seen eating them with enjoyment, but during the 20th century their popularity grew and they acquired a certain symbolic value. Olszewski (1980) compiled an impressive sampler of poems, cartoons, folklore, and jests to do with what he called ‘the humble yabby’.