Meet two tiny new species of “vampire crabs” from Java, Indonesia! Both spooky-eyed crustaceans have intense yellow eyes that give them their vampiric appearance. While Vampire crabs have been traded as pets for many years already, the origin of some of these spooky-looking crustaceans has been cloaked in mystery.
Until now that is!
A trio of researchers led from the University of Singapore have established that the two species are, in fact, native to central Java, Indonesia. Both crabs were found along hillstreams about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from each other.
Despite their name, these little guys are surprisingly cute. So cute, in fact, that they don’t look like a real animal but more like a cartoon character.
According to professional aquarist Christian Lukhaup, these crabs are kind of a big deal because they’ve been around in the pet trade for years, but for all this time no one knew where they come from. Scientists have identified other vampire crab species before, including those in the aquarium trade, but the newfound species are the most common pets, he said.
The two new vampire crab species are each confined to a single watershed, making them particularly vulnerable to collectors. Some private enthusiasts are breeding the crabs, but most still come from Indonesia. Unfortunately, with vampire crabs and other exotic aquarium species, it seems there’s no silver bullet for salvation.
So while this new discovery may be exciting for scientists, there are concerns that the populations of these amazing creatures will dwindle if too many crabs are collected for pets.
Therefore, it is hoped that in the future commercial breeding will help prevent wild populations from being wiped out by the vampire crab craze.
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