Thursday, December 20, 2007

Freshwater Crabs

Some species of freshwater crabs are terrestrial and can be found near the sea, on high mountains and in large rivers, small streams and peat swamps. Some species such as Parathelphusa convexa and P. maculate are common in lowland streams and rice fields. The crab fauna of many parts of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Irian Jaya remain unexplored and the total number of species is likely to be much higher than the 70-odd currently known.

Freshwater crabs have very large eggs which hatch directly into miniature version of the adult, young crabs are brooded by the female for a short time before being released. Many species of freshwater crabs are eaten in some areas, but care should be excercised as many species are intermediate hosts of the very dangerous lung fluke.

The World’s Biggest Land ArthropodRobber crabs are large animals with some individuals having a claw span of almost one meter and a weight of four kilograms. The name are robber crabs because they are often attracted to shiny objects and have been known to steal pots, pans and trinkets from tents and outhouses. Their powerful claws can rip open cracked coconuts to get at the fleshy interior, hence their other common name – Coconut Crab. They are also voracious scavengers. Despite such adaptations and their ability to live in a wide range of habitats, from beach front to forest, robber crabs are now seriously threatened with extinction. This crabs found in Lingga, near Sumatra is seen carrying its yolk-laden larvae on its back.

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