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#Natureology Species of the Day – Madagascan Land Crab (Madagapotamon humberti)

January 12, 2013

crab

Madagascan Land CrabMadagapotamon humberti, is listed as Vulnerable  on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because this endemic species is only known from five locations in Northern Madagascar , and there are long-term threats from human induced habitat loss.

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Biology

This long-legged, brightly coloured, air-breathing land crab is restricted to limestone formations, and requires a specialized habitat of water-filled crevices in limestone.This semi-terrestrial species is restricted to limestone karst and as such has a limited distribution.

The Ankarana Massif in northern Madagascar is an undeveloped region of the island with vast limestone formations that include caves, underground rivers, and forested valleys. The Madagascan Land Crab spends its time within deep fissures in the limestone during the dry season, and emerges to feed in the nearby forests when the rainy season begins. The specialized habitat of this species limits its distribution to this part of the island, and it is endemic to Madagascar.

Threats & Conservation

Despite the fact that several specimens have been collected recently from different localities, the long-term threats to the survival of this species remain, and include habitat disturbance and pollution. In addition, only part of its range lies within a protected area, so the long-term survival of this vulnerable and ecologically unusual species could be at risk.

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