Wed, Dec 04, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Land crab specialist calls for river basin conservation efforts

By Tsai Tsung-hsun and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A Pyxidognathus granulosus land crab is pictured at National Kenting Park in Pingtung County’s Hengchun Township in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of the Kenting National Park Administration Office

Following the discovery of eight new kinds of land crab in Kenting National Park (墾丁國家公園), land crab expert Li Jheng-jhang (李政璋) called on the government to focus on ecological conservation efforts in river basins, as half of the new species were found in the Gangkou River (港口溪) basin in Pingtung County’s Manjhou Township (滿州).

Acting on a commission by the Kenting National Park Administrative Office, Li and other land crab experts conducted research on species in the Kenting area, discovering the new crabs, bringing the total in the Kenting area up to 65.

The results of their research were published in the journals Crustaceana and Zoological Studies.

The Kenting area has become famous as being “a treasure trove for land crab studies” after numerous new species have been discovered in the area, Li said.

He added that he last year discovered two other new land crab species in the Gankou River basin.

With this year’s discoveries, the number of land crab species in the Gankou River basin has risen to about 45, while there are a total of 67 land crab species on the Hengchun Peninsula (恆春半島), with all but two found in the national park, he said.

The new species are only a small part of what recent land crab research has discovered, Li said, adding that it is highly likely that there are even more undiscovered, or discovered but yet unannounced, species in the river basin.

Research over the past several years has indicated that the number of land crab species in the river basin has been constantly underestimated, he said, calling on the government to list ecological conservation as a consideration when conducting riverside construction.

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