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Tree-living crab species, Kani maranjandu, found in Kerala

The key traits of the crab include the structure of its hard upper shell, its male abdominal structure and reproductive parts and diagnostic elongated walking legs, which no other genus has.

Apr 6, 2017 12:07 IST
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Kani maranjanduA group of scientists discovered a new species of long legged, tree-dwelling crabs in Western Ghats of Kerala.

The species, named Kani maranjandu, are substantially different from other congeners. The species are named after the Kani tribe in Kerala.

The finding was published in The Journal of Crustacean Biology.

Key characteristics of the new species

The key traits of the crab include the structure of its hard upper shell, its male abdominal structure and reproductive parts and diagnostic elongated walking legs, which no other genus has.

The species is a first report of its kind to offer a record of an arboreal crab, a species that lives in trees.

Water holding hollows in large trees are essential for the survival of the unique species.

The survey of the freshwater crab fauna had started in the year 2014 in the Westerns Ghats in Kerala.

People from the Kani tribe reported sightings of a long legged tree crabs in the area. It was only after a year that researchers were finally able to capture a female specimen and later a large adult male.

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About Kani tribe

Kani is a tribe living in the Western Ghats area of Kerala.

The tribe’s use of the forest plant arogyapacha as a key ingredient in a herbal remedy called Jeevani was noted by visiting scientists in the 1980s. The formula was eventually developed as a commercial enterprise by Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, with the tribe's Kerala Kani Welfare Trust receiving license fees and royalties.

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