Monday, 19 September 2016

Crab from the Chinese pet market turns out to be a new species of a new genus




Date: September 7, 2016
Source: Pensoft Publishers

Shimmering carapaces and rattling claws make colourful freshwater crabs attractive to pet keepers. To answer the demand, fishermen are busy collecting and trading with the crustaceans, often not knowing what exactly they have handed over to their client.

Luckily for science and nature alike, however, such 'stock' sometimes ends up in the hands of scientists, who recognise their peculiarities and readily dig into them to make the next amazing discovery. Such is the case of three researchers from University of New South Wales, Australia, The Australian Museum, Sun Yat-sen University, China, and National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan, who have found a new species and even a new genus of freshwater crab, and now have it published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Knowing about the growing demand for eye-catching freshwater crabs from southern China, the authors took a look at the ornamental fish market to eventually identify an individual with unusually structured male gonopod, which in crustaceans is a swimming appendage modified to serve as a reproductive organ. Having their interest drawn by the peculiar crab, lead author Chao Huang managed to persuade the fish dealer to let them survey the collection site located in northern Guangdong, southern China.

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