New king crab species discovered

Alaska king crab

From the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK) :

King crab family bigger than ever

New king crabs

Sally Hall, a PhD student at the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES) at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) has formally described four new species of king crab, all from the deep sea.

Hall discovered the new species in the Smithsonian Collections of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington. Explaining the significance of the find, she said: “King crabs include some of the largest crustaceans currently inhabiting Earth and are fished by humans, particularly from the shallower waters of the polar regions. The new discoveries increase the total number of king crab species known to 113.”

The new species are Paralomis nivosa from the Philippines, P. makarovi from the Bering Sea, P. alcockiana from South Carolina, and Lithodes galapagensis from the Galapagos archipelago – the first and only king crab species yet recorded from the seas around the Galapagos Islands. P. nivosa and P. makarovi came from previously unidentified samples collected in the early part of the twentieth century by the US Bureau of Fisheries steamer, Albatross.

King crabs were first formally described in 1819. They are now known from subtidal waters at high latitudes, but deep-sea species occur in most of the world’s oceans, typically living at depths between 500 and 1500 metres.

“We are only now beginning to understand the incredible diversity of animals living in the deep sea,” said Hall: “It is incredible that the Albatross collection is still yielding new information, even though it is over 100 years since this survey of deep-sea life began.”

It is now clear that species of deep-sea king crab live in most areas of the world’s oceans, but many more species remain to be discovered. “The oceans off eastern Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean are all particularly poorly sampled,” said Hall: “We need to know which king crab species live where before we can fully understand their ecology and evolutionary success.”

USA: On both coasts little crustaceans known as sand crabs or mole crabs burrow into the sand in the swash zone and let the shallow waves break over their backs: here.

3 thoughts on “New king crab species discovered

  1. Wednesday, January 6, 2010 9:39 am TWN, By Z. S. Kuo, Flor Wang, CNA

    New crab species discovered off Kenting

    PINGTUNG, Taiwan — Crabs spotted off Taiwan’s southern coast last year have been confirmed as belonging to a new crab species that has never been reported in official documents, the Kenting National Park Headquarters announced Monday.

    The two crabs were noticed off Kenting’s coast in Pingtung County last June by National Taiwan Ocean University assistant professor Ho Ping-ho during a probe into the damage to the area’s ecosystem caused by an oil spill.

    Ho said the crabs have similar characteristics to the Neoliomera Pubescens crabs of the family xanthoidea but also have distinctive traits.

    After a thorough search, the species was confirmed as being unrecorded in official reports worldwide and has been temporarily named the New Neoliomera Pubescens crab, Ho said.

    The two female crabs, with white spots dotting their 2.5-centimeter wide bodies, look like mature strawberries, earning them the nickname strawberry crabs.

    Ho, who has been unable to find any other examples of the new species since last June, said it is now essential to find a male crab to precisely classify the new species, given that the reproductive organ of the male crab is one of the keys to the classification.

    Touting the find as a major contribution to the rest of the world, Ho said the discovery highlighted Kenting National Park’s importance as a front line in Taiwan’s biodiversity procreation efforts.


  2. Mutant three-clawed crab found in fisherman’s lobster pot

    Wednesday 06 April 2011

    A mutant three-clawed crab was hauled up in a fisherman’s lobster pot today.

    The sea monster, which has an extra set of pincers growing from beneath its shell, was caught off the coast of Northumberland.

    Fisherman Jeff Handyside donated the eight-inch edible crab to the Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth, North Tyneside, where staff have nicknamed him Claude.

    Blue Reef’s Anna Etchells said: “It’s rare to find crustaceans with extra claws. Very little research work has been done on this so no-one really knows why this sometimes happens.

    “It could be due to environmental factors or genetic mutation.

    “Crabs, like other crustaceans, are capable of re-growing limbs and claws if they lose or damage them in a fight.

    “It is also possible that somehow Claude’s ability to regenerate lost limbs has got confused and, rather than replacing a missing set of claws, he’s actually ended up growing an extra pair instead.”


  3. Pingback: Fukushima radioactive food smuggled into China | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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