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The Dongsha Management Station of Marine National Park Headquarters (MNPH) and Life Science professor Shi Xi-de of National Chung Hsing University, underwent a week of crab survey on Dongsha Island. Together, they discovered 19 crabs and hermit crab species that were the first to be recorded on the island. This discovery further added another chapter in the various organisms that live on land and in the intertidal zone of the Dongsha Atoll National Park.

MNPH expressed that over the years, Dongsha Atoll National Park only recorded seven crab families and 16 crab species in their studies on the coral reef area, land and intertidal zone. This time, after only a single week of survey, they were able to record an astonishing 12 crustacean families and 34 crustacean species including the Uca jocelynae from the family Ocypodidae and the Coenobita rugosus from the family Coenobitidae. Among them are the family Ocypodidae, family Eriphiidae, family Coenobitidae and another 11 families and 19 species were the first to ever be recorded, and therefore serve as a testament to the valuable crab resources which the park nurtures to produce a diverse array of organisms.

In order to further explore the diversity of the crabs on land and in the intertidal zone of Dongsha Atoll National Park, the staff at Dongsha Management Station of MNPH and professor Shi with his research team underwent an extensive crab survey from September 1st to the 8th on the beaches, intertidal zone, lagoon, land, coastal forests and other habitats. They hope the fruits of their labor can be used in the conservation of the crabs in the park. The lagoon area of Dongsha Island is a habitat for high populations of crabs, especially the Uca jocelynae. This crab specie lives mostly on organic debris, so Dongsha’s lagoon serves as the crab’s only habitat due to its ample organic debris resources. As for the Scylla serrata, it is almost never seen around the sea areas around Dongsha Island, but rather, concentrated in the lagoon. From this, we understand that Dongsha Island’s lagoon is also an important habitat of the Scylla serrata.

This investigative study accidentally discovered that the driftwood scattered across the beach also serves as an important habitat of the crabs. Several first time record new species that were discovered underneath these driftwood including crabs belonging to the Epigrapsus genus and Metasesarma genus. Therefore, the driftwood that has traveled extensive seas and beached on the shore have become important habitats for organisms, therefore maintaining the diverse habitats on the shore is extremely important to the conservation of diverse organisms.

MNPH expressed that ever since the establishment of Dongsha Atoll National Park in 2007, aside from studying the biological groups of the coral reef ecosystem, the park has actively studied the resources of an array of organisms. However, due to the extansive range of the park and diversity of organisms, studies and research must continue for an indefinite time. The new findings of 19 crab species open up a new chapter in the park’s multiple research studies, and further increase the understanding of the diversity of the park’s crab resources. It also provides a clearer goal and direction in the conservation of the park’s crabs.
A thick-legged fiddler crab moving around the Dongsha Island atoll. Driftwood on Dongsha Beach is a pleasant habitat for several crab species.
A thick-legged fiddler crab moving around
the Dongsha Island atoll.
Driftwood on Dongsha Beach is a pleasant
habitat for several crab species.
The Thalmalita crab only appears in the atoll region of Dongsha. The brightly colored Uca tetragonon has the most advantage in Dongsha due to its large population.
The Thalmalita crab only appears in the
atoll region of Dongsha.
The brightly colored Uca tetragonon has the most
advantage in Dongsha due to its large population.

 

 

 

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