Friday, December 3, 2010

Welcome Allacanthos yawi!

A new crab species has been discovered, and not from some deep-sea, hard-to-find chasm, but from a river in Costa Rica! Allacanthos yawi is a decapod crustacean in the family Pseudothelphusidae, and was discovered 1,000 meters above sea level in the Río Volcán drainage (Buenos Aires County, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica)!

A. yawi showing off his lovely green carapace (scale bar = 10 mm)

The crab was found by Luis Rólier Lara while he was scouting for the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (they want to build a hydroelectric plant), identified by Ingo Wehrtmann from the Museum of Zoology and the School of Biology at the University of Costa Rica, and described by Célio Magalhães from the National Institute of Amazonian Research. Melania Pérez, a Costa Rican archeologist, gave the crab its species name yawi, which means “crab” in the indigenous language Cabécar (or more fully “river crab that lives under rocks”, as reported by Tico Times).

the pretty mottled female A. yawi (scale bar = 10 mm)

Let’s wish this newly-discovered crab luck! With battles against expanding pineapple farms, hydroelectric projects, and pollution, this endemic little species may need it!

Pineapple attack!!
(A. yawi is a preserved male from Magalhães et al., 2010)

Read about it:
Magalhães, C., L. R. Lara, I. S. Wehrtmann. 2010. A new species of freshwater crab of the genus Allacanthos Smalley, 1964 (Crustacea, Decapoda, Pseudothelphusidae) from southern Costa Rica, Central America. Zootaxa 2604: 52–60.

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