Crabs at risk due to coral reef loss

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Crabs at risk due to coral reef loss

September 13, 2015 - 12:58
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Some crab species may become extinct due to their dependence on corals for protection, according to a new study by researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural History (at University of Florida).

Coral clinging crab amidst corals.

Such crabs have specially evolved to a more compact size so that they can hide in the nooks and small spaces within the coral reefs.

However, as coral reefs are being progressively lost worldwide (by as much as 80 percent in the Caribbean), these crabs risk losing their homes.

This conclusion was reached after Post Doctoral Associate Dr Adiël A. Klompmaker and his team compiled the body size measurements of 792 species of prehistoric crabs and lobsters, and concluded that habitat appears to be a factor in the evolution of crustacean size.

“Many species of crab are so strongly adapted to reef life, they simply won’t survive elsewhere, including 52 species of tiny cryptochirid crabs that live inside corals all over the world, including in Florida,” said Klompmaker.

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