Crabs: India

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Distribution, region-wise

Western Ghats

Kani maranjandu

New tree-living crab species found in Kerala, April 4, 2017: The Hindu

The crab species has been named after the Kani tribe in Kerala; New tree-living crab species found in Kerala, April 4, 2017: The Hindu

The crab species has been named after the Kani tribe in Kerala.

The new species named Kani maranjandu after the Kani tribe in Kerala, are substantially different from other congeners.

Scientists have discovered a new species of long legged, tree-dwelling crabs in Western Ghats of Kerala.

The new species named Kani maranjandu after the Kani tribe in Kerala, are substantially different from other congeners.

The characteristic traits of the crab include the structure of its hard upper shell, its male abdominal structure and reproductive parts and diagnostic elongated walking legs, which no other genus has, said researchers from University of Kerala.

This is the first report of its kind to offer a record of an arboreal crab — a species that lives in trees.

The survey of the freshwater crab fauna started in 2014 in the Westerns Ghats in Kerala. People from the Kani tribe reported sightings of a ‘long legged’ tree crabs in the area.

After a year, researchers were finally able to capture a female specimen and later a large adult male.

“As water holding hollows in large trees are essential for the survival of this unique species, the discovery also stress the need for conservation of large trees in the degraded forest ecosystems of the Western Ghats,” said Biju Kumar of University of Kerala.

“It also highlights how little we know about the actual biodiversity that resides in these forests and the efforts that must still be made to find and study the many undoubted new species that still live there,” Kumar said.

Then finding was published in The Journal of Crustacean Biology.

Genus karkata

T.Nandakumar, A new cast of crabs in Western Ghats, June 8, 2017: The Hindu

Karkata kusumbha, crab from in Western Ghats in June 2017; T.Nandakumar, A new cast of crabs in Western Ghats, June 8, 2017: The Hindu

Scientists elated as they discover Karkata, a fresh genus, and six species from Kerala

The Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot is in the spotlight once again, as scientists have discovered a new genus and six new species of freshwater crabs in these mountainous forests.

With the recent finding in Kerala, freshwater crab diversity in the State has risen to 34 species, the highest in the country. Nearly 50% of crabs in the Western Ghats (27 of 47 species) occur here.

All six species were discovered on the Kerala side. The researchers including S.K. Pati and P.M. Sureshan from Zoological Survey of India, L. Rajesh, Smrithy Raj and A. Biju Kumar of the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala and V.U. Sheeja, Holy Cross College, Nagercoil published the find in Journal of Natural History.

Karkata, which stands for crab in Sanskrit, has been given a separate genus, indicating a higher order of distinctive features. It is endemic to the Western Ghats.

One of its species, Karkata ghanarakta, was collected from the Thattekad bird sanctuary in Ernakulam district while the second, Karkata kusumbha was reported from Mankulam in Idukki district. The species name ghanarakta is derived from the Sanskrit for maroon, reflecting the colour of the crab. The word kusumbha (Sanskrit for safflower) refers to the orange-red colours of the creature that resemble the floral hues.

The researchers found two new species in the genus Pilarta. While Pilarta aroma inhabits cold water mountain streams in the Agasthyamala Reserve in Thiruvananthapuram, Pilarta punctatissima was collected from Ovumkal in the Thattekad sanctuary.

Paddy embankments

One new species, Cylindrotelphusa longiphallus, came from deep burrows along paddy fields at Kuzhikattusseri, Thrissur. The name is derived from the Latin ‘longi’ for long and the Greek ‘phallus’, a reference to long male gonopods of the animal. Another new discovery, Cylindrotelphusa breviphallus, is from Ponmudi in Thiruvananthapuram.

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