Six New Species of Freshwater Crabs Found

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Scientists have discovered six new species of freshwater crabs in (Kerala) Western Ghats of India. The Western Ghats in India is a biodiversity hot spot for plants and animals.

Now the freshwater crab diversity in Kerala has risen to 34 species, the highest in the country. Nearly 50% of crabs in the Western Ghats (27 of 47 species) occur in this area.

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.

One new species, Cylindrotelphusa longiphallus, came from deep burrows along paddy fields at Kuzhikattusseri, Thrissur.

Another new discovery, Cylindrotelphusa breviphallus, is from Ponmudi in Thiruvananthapuram.

Of the 34 species of freshwater crabs in Kerala, 23 are endemic.

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