Meet the newest soldier crab:
Do you recognize this soldier crab? Neither did the scientists on a Thailand crab survey!
The “new” species of giant soldier crab was discovered in Satun province, Thailand (maybe). Puntip Wisespongpand of Kasetsart University, chief researcher on a crab survey led in the Satun, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Songkhla provinces, found the unfamiliar crabs and sent them away for DNA analysis (hence all the waiting in new-species anticipation!). A new crab may not be too shocking for Thailand, proud home of about 800 crab species, but this small soldier (carapace width ~ 14 mm) is already fighting for survival. The potentially new crab was discovered at the future sight of a potential deep sea port, the Pak Bara Beach; the deep sea port at Pak Bara Beach is slated for expansion of the petrochemical industry in southern Thailand.
circled: Satun Province, Thailand
(Bangkok is starred for reference)
Bummer, right? Until we know for sure if it’s a new crab species, and we see what happens with the Pak Bara Beach, let’s learn some more about soldier crabs in general. (Ha, get it? General soldier crab info??)
• Soldier crabs have their own taxonomic family: Mictyridae (genus = Mictyris)
• They are filter feeders, thriving on mud flats and beaches where they can filter the sand for interstitial fauna and detritus
• Their feeding behavior results in hundreds of little sandy balls during low tide, similar to the sand bubbler crabs featured on Blue Planet!
If you know any more information about this new crab, feel free to comment!