Polar Biology

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 195–201

Antarctic reptant decapods: more than a myth?


DOI: 10.1007/s00300-003-0583-z

Cite this article as:
Thatje, S. & Arntz, W.E. Polar Biol (2004) 27: 195. doi:10.1007/s00300-003-0583-z


The impoverished Antarctic decapod fauna is one of the most conspicuous biodiversity phenomena in polar science. Although physiological and ecological approaches have tried to explain the reason for the low decapod biodiversity pattern in the Southern Ocean, the complexity of this problem is still not completely understood. The scant records of crabs south of the Polar Front were always considered as exceptional, and have mostly been ignored by marine biologists world-wide, creating one of the most dogmatic paradigms in polar science. We herein review the record of both adults and larvae of reptants from the Southern Ocean. At present, several species of only lithodid crabs maintain considerable adult populations in circum-Antarctic waters, although they remain absent from the high-Antarctic shelves.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany