Scientists Discovered Two New Species of “Vampire Crabs”

If you think spooky vampires are only found in humans, well, think again!

Scientists Discovered Two New Species of "Vampire Crabs"Meet the 2 new species of “vampire crabs” from Java, Indonesia. One has gorgeous purple claws, the other has stunning orange nippers, and they both have intense yellow eyes with purple or orange abdomens that give them their spooky, vampiric, ‘bloodsucking’ appearance. 

Scientists Discovered Two New Species of "Vampire Crabs"Scientists had to follow a trailer of crab collectors to dealers to people gathering and selling the crabs to determine where the crabs originated.

A biology professor at the National University of Singapore and an author of the report named Peter Ng said that, he saw the crabs for the first time in aquaria in Singapore, where the crustaceans were being sold as pets.

However, the problem for scientists was that it was not clear where the crabs originally came from, which made it difficult for researchers to actually name and describe the traits of the species in the wild. 
According to Ng,
For a species to be formally and properly described and named, its provenance should be known. Of course, it is perfectly legal to name a species without knowing where it comes from, but that would be bad science and irresponsible.”

Scientists Discovered Two New Species of "Vampire Crabs"With a good deal of detective work, study coauthor Christian Lukhaup, a German carcinologist (crab expert), traced the crabs’ origins. They named the two new species Geosesarma dennerle and Geosesarma hagen, in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. They traced the habitat of the freshwater crabs to Java, Indonesia, after years of ambiguity about their exact origins.

These crabs are kind of special because they’ve been around in the pet trade for 10 years, but no one knew where they came from,” Lukhaup told National Geographic.

Scientists Discovered Two New Species of "Vampire Crabs"On the other hand, the two newly described species may already been under threat from potential over-collecting for the aquarium trade, the researchers said.

Any species that is over-exploited — be it for food, or as a pet — stands threatened. More so for a small freshwater crab like this, which has a relatively restricted range,” Ng said.
The researchers said they are also worried about “the potential loss of pristine habitat” because, according to Ng, if this habitat becomes polluted or changed by human activity, the crabs’ populations may collapse.


via National Geographic

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