Endemic Tree-Climbing Crab Named And Discovered In Hong Kong, Western Ghats

First Posted: Apr 13, 2017 03:06 AM EDT

A new species of mangrove-climbing micro-crab is named and discovered in Hong Kong. It is named Haberma tingkok, which is about less than a centimeter long.

The finds were described in ZooKeys. The study was led by Dr. Stefano Cannicci at the Swire Institute of Marine Sciences (SWIMS) and School of Biological Sciences, the University of Hong Kong and Dr. Peter Ng from the University of Singapore.

Haberma tingkok, which is the first arboreal crab, comes from Tolo Harbor in Hong Kong. It lives on the branches and canopies of mangroves. The closest relatives of this endemic tree crab could be found in the mangroves of Indonesian New Guinea and Singapore. On the other hand, these are the usual crabs that inhabit in the mud, according to

These crabs are seen at 1.5 to 1.8 meters above chart datum. They are dark brown in color that has squarish carapace with very long legs and orange claws. They are the second endemic mangrove crab species named in Hong Kong following the Pseudosesarma patshuni, which was named and discovered in 1975.

Meanwhile, in the Western Ghats, a scientist -- Appukuttannair Biju Kumar -- with his colleagues also identified another tree-climbing crab. It is named Kani maranjandu derived from the Kani tribe that aided in discovering the tree crab. It is described as "long-legged" tree crabs. Its legs are also strongly curved and very sharp. It has sharp fingers that help it climb a tree effectively. Among its other features are the hard upper shell and diagnostic elongated walking legs.

Researchers had captured a female specimen of these tree crabs and a large adult male on Sep. 5, 2016. They were taken in the museum collection of the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala and in the Zoological Survey of India. This discovery, which was published in the Journal of Crustacean Biology, is significant in the conservation of biodiversity of the Western Ghats, according to Deccan Herald. 

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