Diversity, endemism and conservation of the freshwater crabs of China (Brachyura: Potamidae and Gecarcinucidae)

Please be informed of this newly published journal article by RMBR Director Prof Peter K. L. Ng, and museum research associates Dr  Darren C. J. Yeo of the Department of Biological Sciences, NUS and Dr Tohru Naruse from the University of the Ryukyus in the journal Integrative Zoology.

Prof Peter Ng        Dr Darren Yeo        Dr Tohru Naruse

Cumberlidge, Neil, P. K. L. Ng, D. C. J. Yeo, T. Naruse. K. S. Meyer, L. J, Esser (2011) Diversity, endemism and conservation of the freshwater crabs of China (Brachyura: Potamidae and Gecarcinucidae). Integrative Zoology, 6: 45–55.

Its abstract is as follows:
China lies at the heart of the global center of freshwater crab diversity in tropical Asia, where the 2 most diverse families occur: Potamidae (505 species, 95 genera) and Gecarcinucidae (344 species, 59 genera). China stands out as the country with the highest species richness of freshwater crabs globally. Its fauna comprises 243 species in 37 genera and in 2 families, and species discovery is still progressing at a rapid pace. The vast majority of the species are distributed in southwest, south central and eastern China in the Oriental zoogeographical region. China also stands out as having a highly endemic freshwater crab fauna at the species level (96%) and at the genus level (78%). Although the recent International Union for the  Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list conservation assessment found only 6 out of 228 species (2%) to be threatened (5 potamids and 1 gecarcinucid), the majority (more than 75%) of Chinese species are regarded as data deficient, so the number of threatened species is likely to be a serious underestimate. Threats from increasing habitat destruction and pollution are a major concern due to the rapidly growing economy and massive developments taking place in China. There is therefore an urgent need for increased species exploration and for the  development of a conservation strategy for China’s threatened (and potentially threatened) endemic freshwater crab species.

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