Scientists find crab up tree

Tree crab
Haberma tingkok: not your average crab.
Credit: Dr. Peter K. L. Ng

For many people in coastal regions around the world, foraging for crabs is a popular pastime.

Crustacean hunters look for their prey on the sea floor, on reefs, in rock pools, and in mud banks. Very few, however, look up in the trees.

This is unfortunate because, in Hong Kong at least, that would be a good idea.

Scientists Stefano Cannicci, of Hong Kong University, and Peter Ng, of the University of Singapore, this week announced the discovery of a new crab species, which spends a lot of its time walking along the branches of mangrove trees growing in tidal zones.

The crabs – dubbed Haberma tingkok – are pretty small, with all the specimens collected measuring less than one centimetre across the carapace.

All, however, were found at least 1.5 metres up tree trunks. The formal description of the crab is published in the journal ZooKeys.

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