Not only conquer on  lands but also trees -Sri Lanka Tree Crab

We all know that crabs live in water, mud, and on land, but did you know that some crabs live in trees? You don’t believe it, but they do. In 1995, Peter Ng described Ceylonthelphusa scansor, a crab species from Sinharaja that is surprisingly almost arboreal. In the year 2005, Sri Lankan biologist Mohamed Bahir of the Wildlife Heritage Trust and Ng assigned this species to the endemic genus Perbrinckia. The species name, “scansor,” means “climber,” referring to this crab’s ability to climb trees. It is the country’s only known tree-climbing freshwater crab. The crab has been discovered in 11 different locations in Sri Lanka, including the Kalu River, Walawe River, and Gin River basins. They are difficult to find during the day because they are hidden inside the hole, but at night they emerge from the hole and move on the surface of tree trunks

This species is a habitat specialist, with adults living in rainwater-filled phytotelms up to 1 m above ground. Adults have been observed to thrive in rainwater-filled tree hollows of Shorea sp., Artocarpus sp., Dillenia sp., Garcinia sp., Myristica sp., and Gyrinops walla. These trees could reach a height of 20 feet and have a canopy cover of 60% to 80%. All of the crabs were seen from holes between 1 and 5 meters above ground. In February and March, females with young can be seen on the ground. This species can also be found in water-trapped holes in rocks inside the forest, in addition to tree holes. There have been a few reports of this species consuming shrub frogs, tadpoles, and insects.

Species that require specialized habitats are more likely to become extinct as the environment changes. Perbrinckia scansor is one such species, and its habitats should be carefully monitored and managed to ensure the species’ survival. Rainwater-filled phytotelms are easily dried when the canopy disappears, making deforestation a major growing threat. Over the last decade, there have been numerous road deaths. Natural predators include greater coucal, white-throated kingfisher, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, and otter.
Image courtesy – Buddhika Mawella, Sanoj Wijesekara
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