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New species of estuarine crab discovered in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu

Published: 11th Nov, 2022

Context

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

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 subquadrata and Pseudohelice latreilli.

Features:


Location: The Vellar River Estuary

  • Pseudohelice annamalai is distinguished by dark purple to dark grey colouring, 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.

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