New species of purple crabs found in Philippines (Photo)

Filed in Animals, Animals and Nature, Asia, Science, World by on April 24, 2012 0 Comments

Four new species of freshwater crab, bright purple in colour, have been discovered in the biologically diverse but ecologically-threatened Philippines, the man who found them said.

New species of purple crabs found in Philippines

Image Credit: National Geographic/Hendrik Freitag

The tiny crustaceans burrow under boulders and roots in streams, feeding on dead plants, fruits, carrion and small animals in the water at night, said Hendrik Freitag of Germany’s Senckenberg Museum of Zoology. Found only in small, lowland-forest ecosystems in the Palawan island group, most have purple shells, with claws and legs tipped red.

“It is known that crabs can discriminate colours. Therefore, it seems likely that the colouration has a signal function for the social behaviour, e.g. mating,” Freitag said. “This could explain why large males of various Insulamon species are more reddish compared to the generally violet females and immature males.”

More field work led Freitag to conclude there were four other unique species.

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