Polar Biology

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 195–201 | Cite as

Antarctic reptant decapods: more than a myth?

  • Sven ThatjeEmail author
  • Wolf E. Arntz


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.


Southern Ocean Drake Passage South Orkney Island Brachyuran Crab Caridean Shrimp 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Our thanks are due to Ingo Fetzer (AWI) for help with translating the original Russian literature. We are grateful to Anne-Nina Lörz (NIWA, Wellington) and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

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

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