A new species of purple crab was discovered, along with three other new species of crab, in the Philippine island of Palawan. The newly discovered crustaceans are small in size as each measured between roughly one and two inches wide.
Crabs are typically known for their red hues, however, there are those such as the Chesapeake blue crab which exhibit colors other than the typical red rust hues.
National Geographic reports that the Insulamon palawanense might utilize their unique coloring to help identity those of the same species. Hendrik Freitag of the Senckenberg Museum of Zoology in Dresden, German was quoted by AFP having said:
“The particular violet coloration might just have evolved by chance, and must not necessarily have a very specific function or reason aside from being a general visual signal for recognition.”
Freitag went onto say that it’s likely the newly discovered purple crabs have a number of natural predators, potentially including humans in remote areas, however, the greatest threat to the species is the continuing forest clearing which threatens their natural habitat. Further reiterating his point that even the slightest of changes to the restrictive habitat of purple crabs could drive the species towards extinction, he told the Senckenberg Museum:
“We have proved that the only previously known type of Insulamon is restricted to the Calamian group of islands to the north of Palawan. The four newly discovered species live exclusively on the actual island of Palawan and make it a unique habitat.”
The work of Freitag’s team was published in the most recent edition of Raffles Bulletin of Zoology.
Museum specimens and individuals were collected during two field surveys to Palawan. Only one other species, identified in 1992, is already known in the genus.
Between blue lobsters, white killer whales, and now purple crabs, who knows what wondrous creatures are waiting to be discovered in remote regions around the world.