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Global diversity of crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) in freshwater


An assessment of the global freshwater crab diversity is presented. A total of 1,476 species in 14 families are currently known from all zoogeographical regions (except Antarctica), including 1,306 species in eight exclusively freshwater families (Pseudothelphusidae, Trichodactylidae, Potamonautidae, Deckeniidae, Platythelphusidae, Potamidae, Gecarcinucidae and Parathelphusidae). Estimates of true freshwater crab diversity including likely numbers of undescribed taxa suggest that the field remains largely in a “discovery” phase. Main ideas on the origins, diversification, and phylogeny of true freshwater crabs are briefly discussed. The economic importance of freshwater crabs is also highlighted.

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This study has benefited from the help and advice from many colleagues. We thank Tohru Naruse and Paul Clark for their many helpful comments and suggestions which have helped improve the manuscript. Support from the Belgium Biodiversity Platform, the Belgian Science Policy, the Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences, and the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Darren C. J. Yeo.

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Guest editors: E. V. Balian, C. Lévêque, H. Segers & K. Martens

Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment

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Yeo, D.C.J., Ng, P.K.L., Cumberlidge, N. et al. Global diversity of crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595, 275–286 (2008).

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  • Global assessment
  • Freshwater crab
  • Diversity
  • Crustacea
  • Decapoda
  • Brachyura
  • Species estimates