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

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Bahir, M. M., P. K. L. Ng, K. Crandall & R. Pethiyagoda, 2005. A conservation assessment of the freshwater crabs of Sri Lanka. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 12: 121–126.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bănărescu, R. M., 1990. Zoogeography of Freshwaters. 1. General distribution and dispersal of freshwater animals. AULA-Verlag, Weisbaden, 1–511.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Barbaresi, S. & F. Gherardi, 1997. Italian freshwater decapods: exclusion between the crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes (Faxon) and the river crab Potamon fluviatile (Herbst). Bulletin française de la Pêche et de la Piscicolture 347: 731–747.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bossuyt, F., M. Meegaskumbura, N. Beenaerts, D. J. Gower, R. Pethiyagoda, K. Roelants, A. Mannaert, M. Wilkinson, M. M. Bahir, K. Manamendra-Arachchi, P. K. L. Ng, C. J. Schneider, O. V. Oommen & M. C. Milinkovitch, 2004. Local endemism within the western Ghats-Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot. Science 306: 479–481.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Bott, R., 1955. Die Süsswasserkrabben von Afrika (Crustacea, Decapoda) und ihre Stammesgeschichte. Annales du Musee Royal du Congo belge 1: 209–352, Pls. 1–30, Figs. 1–103.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bott, R., 1970. Die Süsswasserkrabben von Europa, Asien, Australien und ihre Stammesgeschichte. Eine Revision der Potamoidea und Parathelphusoidea (Crustacea, Decapoda). Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft, Frankfurt 526: 1–338, Pls. 1–58.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Brandis, D., 2002. On the taxonomic status and biogeography of the Isolapotamidae Bott, 1970 (Decapoda, Brachyura). Journal of Natural History, London 36: 1291–1339.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Chia, O. K. S. & P. K. L. Ng, 1998. Is Sundathelphusidae Bott, 1969 a valid taxon? A cladistic appraisal. Proceedings and Abstracts of the 4th International Crustacean Congress, Amsterdam: 72.

  9. Chia, O. K. S. & P. K. L. Ng, 2006. The freshwater crabs of Sulawesi, with descriptions of two new genera and four new species (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Parathelphusidae). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 54: 383–428.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Colosi, G., 1921. La distribuzione geografica dei Potamonidae. Rivista di Biologia 3: 294–301.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Cox, C. B., 2001. The biogeographic regions reconsidered. Journal of Biogeography 28: 511–523.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Cumberlidge, N., R. v. Sternberg, R. Bills & H. A. Martin, 1999. A revision of the genus Platythelphusa A. Milne-Edwards, 1887, from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa (Decapoda: Potamoidea: Platythelphusidae). Journal of Natural History 33: 1487–1512.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Cumberlidge, N., 1999. The Freshwater Crabs of West Africa: Family Potamonautidae. Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Collection Faune et Flore Tropicales no. 36, Paris, 1–382.

  14. Cumberlidge, N. & S. R. Daniels, 2007. A conservation assessment of the freshwater crabs of southern Africa (Brachyura: Potamonautidae). African Journal of Ecology (in press).

  15. Cumberlidge, N., S. R. Daniels & R. v. Sternberg, 2007. A revision of the higher taxonomy of the Afrotropical freshwater crabs (Decapoda: Brachyura) with a discussion of their biogeography. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (in press).

  16. Cumberlidge, N., D. B. Fenolio, M. E. Walvoord & J. Stout, 2005. Tree-climbing crabs (Potamonautidae and Sesarmidae) from phytotelmic microhabitats in rainforest canopy in Madagascar. Journal of Crustacean Biology 25: 302–308.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Cumberlidge, N. & R. v. Sternberg, 2002. The freshwater crabs of Madagascar (Crustacea, Decapoda, Potamoidea). Zoosystema 24: 41–79.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Dai, A. Y., 1999. Fauna Sinica (Arthropoda, Crustacea, Malacostraca, Decapoda, Parathelphusidae, Potamidae). Editorial Committee of Fauna Sinica, Academia Sinica, Science Press, Beijing, 501 pp, 238 figs., 30 pls.

  19. Daniels, S. R., N. Cumberlidge, M. Pérez-Losada, S. A. E. Marijnissen & K. A. Crandall, 2006. Evolution of Afrotropical freshwater crab lineages obscured by morphological convergence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40: 227–235.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Daniels, S. R., B. A. Stewart, G. Gouws, M. Cunningham & C. A. Matthee, 2002. Phylogenetic relationships of the southern African freshwater crab fauna derived from multiple data sets reveal biogeographic patterning. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 25: 511–523.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Finkers, J., 1986. Los Yanomami y su sistema alimenticio (Yanomami Nii Pë). Vicariato Apostólico de Puerto Ayacucho, Puerto Ayacucho. Monografía n° 2, 262 pp.

  22. Glaessner, M. F., 1969. Decapoda. In Moore, R. C. (ed), Treatise on Invertebrate Palaeontology. Part R. Arthropoda 4. Geological Society of America, 2: R399–R533.

  23. Klaus, S., C. D. Schubart & D. Brandis, 2006. Phylogeny, biogeography and a new taxonomy for the Gecarcinucoidea Rathbun, 1904 (Decapoda: Brachyura). Organisms, Diversity and Evolution 6: 199–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Lundberg, J. G., L. G. Marshall, J. Guerrero, B. Norton, M. C. Malabarba & F. Wesselingh, 1998. The Stage for Neotropical Fish Diversification: A History of Tropical South American Rivers. In Malabarba, L. R., R. E. Reis, R. P. Vari, C. A. S. Lucena & Z. M. S. Lucena (eds), Phylogeny and Classification of Neoptropical Fishes. EDIPUCRS, Porto Alegre, 12–48.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Magalhães, C., 2000. Diversity and abundance of decapod crustaceans in the Rio Negro basin, Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. In Chernoff, B., L. E. Alonso, J. R. Montambault & R. Lourival (eds), A Biological Assessment of the Aquatic Ecossystems of the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Conservation International, Washington, DC, 56–62. Bulletin of Biological Assessment 18.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Magalhães, C., 2003. Famílias Pseudothelphusidae e Trichodactylidae. In Melo, G. A. S. (ed), Manual de Identificação dos Crustacea Decapoda de Água Doce do Brasil. Editora Loyola, São Paulo, 143–287.

  27. Magalhães, C., F. A. Abrunhosa, M. de Oliveira Pereira & M. A. Melo, 2005. New records of Fredius denticulatus (H. Milne-Edwards, 1853) and F. reflexifrons (Ortmann, 1897), and the eastern limits of the distribution of pseudothelphusid crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda) in Brazil. Acta Amazonica 35: 93–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Martin, J. W. & G. E. Davis, 2001. An updated classification of the recent Crustacea. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series 39, 124 pp.

  29. Marijnissen, S. A. E., E. Ellinor Michel, S. R. Daniels, D. Erpenbeck, S. B. J. Menken & F. R. Schram, 2006. Molecular evidence for recent divergence of Lake Tanganyika endemic crabs (Decapoda: Platythelphusidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40: 628–634.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Marijnissen, S. A. E., S. Lange & N. Cumberlidge, 2005. Revised distribution of the African freshwater crab genus Deckenia Hilgendorf, 1868 (Brachyura, Potamoidea, Deckeniidae). Crustaceana 78: 889–896.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Ng, P. K. L., 1988. The Freshwater Crabs of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Department of Zoology, National University of Singapore, Shinglee Press, Singapore, i–viii, 1–156, Figs. 1–63, 4 colour plates.

  32. Ng, P. K. L & G. Rodríguez, 1995. Freshwater crabs as poor zoogeographical indicators: a critique of Bănărescu (1990). Crustaceana 68: 636–645.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Ng, P. K. L., Z. Števčić & G. Pretzmann, 1995. A revision of the family Deckeniidae Ortmann, 1897 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Potamoidea), with description of a new genus (Gecarcinucidae: Gecarcinucoidea) from Seychelles, Indian Ocean. Journal of Natural History 29: 581–600.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Ng, P. K. L. & F. W. M. Tay, 2001. The freshwater crabs of Sri Lanka (Decapoda: Brachyura: Paratelphusidae). Zeylanica 6: 113–199.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Ng, P. K. L. & D. C. J. Yeo, 2007. Malaysian freshwater crabs: conservation prospects and challenges. In Chua, L. S. L., L. G. Kirton & L. G. Shaw (eds), Status of Biological Diversity in Malaysia and Threat Assessment of Plant Species in Malaysia. Proceedings of the Seminar and Workshop. 28–30 June 2005, 95–120.

  36. Pretzmann, G., 1973. Grundlagen und Ergebnisse der Systematik der Pseudothelphusidae. Zeitschrift fuer Zoologische Systematik und Evolutionsforschung 11: 196-218.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Reed, S. K. & N. Cumberlidge, 2006. Taxonomy and biogeography of the freshwater crabs of Tanzania, East Africa (Brachyura: Potamoidea: Potamonautidae, Platythelphusidae, Deckeniidae). Zootaxa 1262: 1–139.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Rodríguez, G., 1982. Les crabes d’eau douce d’Amerique. Famille des Pseudothelphusidae. ORSTOM, Paris, 224 pp, Faune Tropicale 22.

  39. Rodríguez, G., 1986. Centers of radiation of freshwater crabs in the neotropics. In Gore, R. H. & K. L. Heck (eds), Biogeography of Crustacea, Crustacean Issues 3: 51–67.

  40. Rodríguez, G., 1992. The Freshwater Crabs of America. Family Trichodactylidae. Office de la Recherche Scientifique d’Outre Mer (ORSTOM), Paris, 200 pp.

  41. Rodríguez, G. & C. Magalhães, 2005. Recent advances in the biology of the Neotropical freshwater crab family Pseudothelphusidae (Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura). Revista brasileira de Zoologia 22: 354–365.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Rodríguez, G. & H. Suárez, 2004. A revision of the freshwater crabs of the family Pseudothelphusidae (Decapoda: Brachyura) from Peru with notes on the southern limits of the family. Amazoniana 18: 11–28.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Rosen, D. E., 1976. A vicariance model of Caribbean biogeography. Systematic Zoology 24: 431–464.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Segawa, R., (2000). Molecular phylogenetic study of potamoid crabs in Ryukyu Islands. Kaiyo Monthly 32: 241–245.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Shih, H.-T., S.-H. Fang & P. K. L. Ng, 2007. Phylogeny of the freshwater crab genus Somanniathelphusa Bott (Decapoda : Parathelphusidae) from Taiwan and the coastal regions of China, with notes on their biogeography. Invertebrate Systematics 21: 29–37.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  46. Shih, H.-T., P. K. L. Ng & H.-W. Chang, 2004. The systematics of the genus Geothelphusa (Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura, Potamidae) from southern Taiwan: A molecular appraisal. Zoological Studies 43: 561–570.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Sternberg, R. v. & N. Cumberlidge, 1999. A cladistic analysis of the genus Platythelphusa A. Milne-Edwards, 1887 from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa (Decapoda: Potamoidea: Platythelphusidae) with comments on the phylogenetic position of the group. Journal of Natural History 33: 493–511.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Sternberg, R. v. & N. Cumberlidge, 2001. Notes on the position of the true freshwater crabs within the Brachyrhynchan Eubrachyura (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura). Hydrobiologia 449: 21–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Sternberg, R. v., N. Cumberlidge & G. Rodríguez, 1999. On the marine sister groups of the freshwater crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 37: 19–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Yeo, D. C. J. & P. K. L. Ng, 1998. Freshwater crabs of the Potamon tannanti species group (Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura, Potamidae) of northern Indochina. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 46: 627–650.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Yeo, D. C. J. & P. K. L. Ng, 1999. The state of freshwater crab taxonomy in Indochina (Decapoda, Brachyura). In Schram, F. R. & J. C. von Vaupel Klein (eds), Crustaceans and the Biodiversity Crisis, Proceedings of the Fourth International Crustacean Congress, 1998, vol I, 637–646.

  52. Yeo, D. C. J. & P. K. L. Ng, 2003. Recognition of two subfamilies in the Potamidae Ortmann, 1896 (Brachyura, Potamidae), with a note on the genus Potamon Savigny. Crustaceana 76: 1219–1235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Yeo, D. C. J., H.-T. Shih, R. Meier & P. K. L. Ng, 2007. Phylogeny and biogeography of the freshwater crab genus Johora (Crustacea: Brachyura: Potamidae) from the Malay Peninsula, and the origins of its insular fauna. Zoologica Scripta 36: 255–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

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.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Darren C. J. Yeo.

Additional information

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

Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-007-9023-3

Download citation

Keywords

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