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First confirmed report of a primary freshwater crab (Brachyura: Pseudothelphusidae) associated with bromeliads in the Neotropics

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Bromeliads can hold water in their axils, which can harbor an astonishing diversity of macro invertebrates, including decapod crustaceans. Except of a casual report from Trinidad, true freshwater crabs in these phytotelmata have been found exclusively in the Old World, and observations in the New World of crabs associated with bromeliads have been limited to sesarmid crabs, non-primary freshwater crabs that generally do not breed in freshwater. Here we report the presence of a true, or primary, freshwater crab in water-filled axils of a bromeliad in the Neotropics. Immature specimens of the pseudothelphusid crab provisionally identified as Epilobocera cf. gilmanii (Smith, 1870) were collected from inside the bromeliad Hohenbergia penduliflora (A. Richard) Mez. in western Cuba. Pseudothelphusid crabs have developed additional respiratory structures, which make them suitable candidates for a life in phytotelmic microhabitats. It is still uncertain whether in Cuba these crabs actually breed in phytotelmata or only use this microhabitat during their early life stages.

Affiliations: 1: 3Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Caixa Postal 2223, 69080-971 Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil; 2: 4División de Ecología Funcional, Instituto de Ecología y Sistemática, Carretera de Varona, KM 3 1/2, Capdevila, Boyeros, 10 800 La Habana, Cuba

10.1163/1937240X-00002429
/content/journals/10.1163/1937240x-00002429
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