A new species of freshwater crayfish with a vividly violet shell and brilliantly blue claws has been discovered in Indonesia.
Remember those “vampire crabs” with their vampiric appearances? Their purple claws and orange nippers, both having an intense yellow stare which are all discovered recently? Well, turns out that not crabs aren’t the only sea creatures having those vibrant colors.
These colorful crustaceans has been very popular in the ornamental fish trade in Europe, North America, and Asia for about a decade already.
According to The Washington Post, several years ago, independent researcher Christian Lukhaup of Hinterweidenthal, Germany, came across a photo of the gorgeous crayfish taken by a friend in New Guinea. He then started seeing them in pet stores, but the dealers didn’t know for sure where they came from—or they weren’t willing to share their secret with potential competitors.
It is like an investigation in a crime case. This is the only way to find out more,” says Lukhaup.With some research, he learned that the critter comes from the clear waters of Hoa Creek near the village Teminabuan in the southern-central part of the Kepala Burung Peninsula of West Papua, Indonesia. Based on the shape of the body and the chelae (or claws), as well as the coloration of a dozen specimens from the wild and from aquariums, Lukhaup described the crawdad as a new species in the genus Cherax. And according to Lukhaup,
I think it’s one of the most beautiful crayfish. It’s very striking.”
In fact its name, Cherax pulcher, comes from the Latin “pulcher” for beautiful. Cherax pulcher comes in at least two different color forms: a white, blue, and violet morph and a greenish-gray morph. Both have blue and white chelae.
The male specimens are between 83 to 96 millimeters (3.3 to 3.8 inches) long, and the slightly shorter females range between 83 and 90 millimeters (3.3 to 3.5 inches). To the right, you can see an immature male (top) from Hoa Creek and a female greenish-gray morph (below) from Maju Aquarium in Jakarta.