Colorful Crab Species Discovered in The Philippines

By Meera Dolasia on April 29, 2012

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Last week, scientists from Germany's Senckenberg Museum of Zoology announced the discovery of four new species of freshwater crabs in the biologically diverse island province of Palawanin the Philippines. Confined to a small inland area within the lowland-forest ecosystems of the island, the tiny crustaceans feature bright purple or red shells and red-tipped claws.

Hendril Freitag, the head zoologist for the museum believes that since crabs can discriminate colors, the different hues could possibly signal their power - Red for the larger more dominant male and purple, for the smaller females and young adult males.

Regardless of color the carapaces or exoskeletons of all four species are strong and hard, protecting them against river rocks. This is important for their survival, given the unlike other freshwater crabs they do not migrate to the ocean or dry land, but spend their entire lives burrowed under boulders and roots in streams, feeding off dead plants, fruits and small animals. The crabs' exterior also appears swollen because of their large gill chamber that allows them to breath and stay longer on land. Their inability to be able to migrate to the ocean and survive in saltwater, makes the species highly susceptible to extinction, even if their environment changes slightly.

All four new species which have been categorized under the Insulamon Genus are quite tiny - The biggest, called Insulamon Magnum is 53 millimeters by 41.8 millimeters while the smallest, Insulamon Porculum, measures just 33.1 by 25.1 millimeters.

US-based Conservation International, lists the Philippines as one of 17 countries that harbor most of Earth's plant and animal life. Unfortunately, like these purple crabs, a lot of it is vulnerable because the forests are being cleared to make room for farming, mining and home building, effectively reducing if not completely destroying, the habitats of many species.

Resources: news.discovery.com, nationalgeographic.com

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390 Comments
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  • Blurplesheen1009/17/2013
    That's so adorable and also funky. I like funky animal looks. My pets are all way too exotic to tell you the truth. Some are funky and colorful.
    • isaiah11/7/2013
      cool
      • imaboss11/13/2013
        this is really cool dude
        • isaiah11/13/2013
          cool
          • Isalah11/13/2013
            cool
            • isaiah11/13/2013
              cool
              • kim11/13/2013
                cool dude
                • headream100
                  headream10012/9/2013
                  I saw colorful crabs on my trip to an antique cottage. It was right next to the ocean, and I stayed there for a week. I went to the shore and OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME BLUE CRABS???????
                  • niomi
                    niomi3/6/2014
                    the purple crab is cute
                    • ikyra_marie
                      ikyra_marie3/16/2014
                      So pretty!I wish i could find one as pretty as that.Or find one at the beaches close to me

                      Vocabulary

                      carapacescrustaceansdiscriminategenushabitatshuessusceptiblevulnerable

                      Geography

                      Palawan, Philippines

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