A new species of gecarcinid land crab from
The land crab genus Tuerkayana
is represented by only four species, all occurring in the Indian and
Pacific Oceans. They are one of the most ubiquitous species of
terrestrial crabs, with some species among the largest in the family.
The most widely distributed species is the Rough Land Crab, Tuerkayana rotundum,
which is found from Mauritius to Polynesia. A detailed study shows that
the population in French Polynesia is morphologically and genetically
different from the rest, and is here recognised as a new species, T. latens.
The scientific name refers to its identity being hidden until now. The
study has been difficult as specimens from throughout its wide range
needed to be assembled and examined to understand the morphological and
genetic variation in the species, and also included exhaustive
detective work to locate old specimens of other species and synonyms in
several museums. As there are only 26 land crab species globally, the
discovery of a new endemic species in the isolated archipelago of
French Polynesia can be regarded as a major biodiversity event.
Read the full article, published by Zoological
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