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New Genus Of Crab Discovered In A Chinese Pet Shop

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Tom Hale

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Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

According to researchers these crabs are part of a growing trend in the aquarium trade for colorful freshwater crabs. Hsi-Te Shih/ZooKeys

Scientists struck gold on a visit to a Chinese pet shop when they discovered a previously unknown type of crab. Not only is it a new species known to science, it’s also a new genus.

The discovery was made in a pet shop in Yingde City in northern Guangdong, not far from the coast in southern China. Attracted by their strange red and purple coloring, the team of scientists bought the freshwater crabs from the ornamental fish dealer so they could conduct some analyses on these unique crustaceans. Their study was published this month in the open access journal ZooKeys.

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They obtained a genomic DNA sample from the leg muscle and paired it up with existing datasets of other crab species. The results confirmed the crab was indeed a undescribed species and, more to the researchers' surprise, a totally new genus.

They named the species Yuebeipotamon calciatile, in reference to the Chinese name for the region and the crabs’ preference for living near calcite limestone pools. They believe the crabs’ particularly slim legs are an adaptation specifically developed for navigating around these limestone hill streams.

The collected male Yuebeipotamon calciatile, seen from above and from the front. Hsi-Te Shih/Zoo Keys

[H/T: Phys.org]


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  • tag
  • new species,

  • China,

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  • PET,

  • species,

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  • crustacean,

  • new genus,

  • pet shop,

  • freshwater crab

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