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Freshwater crabs in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala: not a single-species fishery

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Guatemala harbors a rich fauna of freshwater crabs of Pseudothelphusidae, consisting of 11 currently valid species in six genera. As far as we know, the only freshwater crab fishery in the Americas takes place in Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, and the species sustaining the artisanal crab fishery is supposedly Potamocarcinus guatemalensis (Rathbun, 1905). However, a close examination of the gonopods from specimens recently captured in Lake Atitlán revealed that they belonged to Raddaus bocourti (A. Milne-Edwards, 1866) and Potamocarcinus magnus (Rathbun, 1896). Another species, R. tuberculatus (Rathbun, 1897) has been reported from the surroundings of Lake Atitlán, but its occurrence in the lake itself remains to be confirmed. The presence of at least two freshwater crab species of two different genera has important implications for the management of this artisanal fishing activity, because local and regional authorities erroneously assumed to deal with a single-species fishery.

Affiliations: 1: 3Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Caixa Postal 2223, 69080-971 Manaus, AM, Brazil; 2: 4Centro de Estudios en Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos (CECTA), Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Cuidad de Guatemala, Guatemala


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