Scientists from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the ANEMOON Foundation discovered a new host coral for a Caribbean parasitic crab species.
During one of the scientific expeditions to Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands, the scientists found a parasitic gall-crab, Opecarcinus hypostegus, on the previously unknown host coral Agaricia undata (a member of the lettuce corals). With help of DNA-barcoding and pictures taken in the field as well as in the labs, the identity of the coral-inhabiting crab was confirmed. With this record, all species within Agaricia are now listed as hosts of gall-crabs.
“New information on coral-associated fauna leads to a better insight on the diversity, evolution, and ecology of coral reef creatures, particularly in the Caribbean, where gall-crabs have rarely been studied.” – stated the scientists.
Report your sightings
Please report any sightings or photos you have of marine species on https://dutchcaribbean.observation.org. This is a free website and app which allows not only researchers but also local citizens and tourists to report sightings of all marine and terrestrial plants and animals. Species reports by local communities are invaluable for nature conservation efforts to help increase public awareness and overall species protection. Besides, Observation.org is working together with Naturalis Biodiversity Center on automated species identification software. Your uploaded photos are of great value to make this possible. For questions, please contact research@DCNAnature.org.
More info in the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database