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9th November 2022 (7 Topics)

New species of estuarine crab was discovered in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu


Researchers of Annamalai University have discovered a new species of estuarine crab in the mangroves of Parangipettai near the Vellar River estuary in the Cuddalore district.

What is an Estuary?

  • An estuary is an area where a freshwater river or stream meets the ocean. In estuaries, the salty ocean mixes with a freshwater river, resulting in brackish water.


About the Species:

  • The species has been named Pseudohelice Annamalai in recognition of Annamalai University’s 100 years of service in education and research. 
  • This is the first-ever record of this genus, Pseudohelice, collected from high intertidal areas in front of the CAS.
  • So far, only two species — Pseudohelice subquadrate and Pseudohelice Latreille.

  • Features:
    • Pseudohelice Annamalai is distinguished by dark purple to dark grey coloring, with irregular light brown, yellowish brown, or white patches on the posterior carapace with light brown chelipeds. 
    • The new species is small and has a maximum width of up to 20 mm.
    • The species inhabits muddy banks of mangroves, and the burrows were located near the pneumatophores of  Avicennia
    • Burrows have a depth of 25-30 cm and are branched, with larger pellets around the entrance.
    • This species is not aggressive and can move fast like other intertidal crabs.
    • As many as 17 species of intertidal crabs have been recorded in the same region.

Significance of the Species:

  • The occurrence of Pseudohelice in India links the distribution gap between the western Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean.
  • The new species provides additional evidence of the geographic isolation of the eastern Indian Ocean for some marine organisms.

Location: The Vellar River Estuary


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