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Convergent Design of Caribbean and Philippine Bamboo Land-Crab Traps

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Abstract Local inhabitants of the Caribbean island of Tobago catch land crabs Cardisoma guanhumi (Herbst, 1796) in an ingenious tube trap made from bamboo. The trap bears a remarkable resemblance to bamboo land-crab traps used in the Philippines. The bamboo-tube trap reported here has not previously been reported from the New World. Tobagonian bamboo-tube traps are baited with local fruits and are positioned on the surface adjacent to crab burrow entrances. In contrast, Old World bamboo-tube traps are reportedly used unbaited and are inserted into the mouths of crab burrows. The striking structural similarity between Caribbean and Philippine bamboo traps lends ethnographic interest, while the traps' simple design and ability to catch land crabs alive and unharmed make them a viable research tool in population studies of land crabs. Similar traps could be made from modern plastic drainage piping.

Affiliations: 1: The Crab Lab, Napier University, 10 Colinton Road, Edinburgh EH10 5DT, United Kingdom (


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