Indexed on: 07 Jan '15Published on: 07 Jan '15Published in: ZooKeys
The freshwater crabs of the Neotropics comprise 311 species in two families (Pseudothelphusidae and Trichodactylidae) and one or both of these families are found in all of the countries in the Neotropical region (except for Chile and some of the Caribbean islands). Colombia (102 species, 81% endemic) and Mexico (67 species, 95% endemic) are the biodiversity hotspots of freshwater crab species richness and country-level endemism for this region. The results of the IUCN Red List conservation assessments show that 34% of pseudothelphusids and 10% of trichodactylids have an elevated risk of extinction, 29% of pseudothelphusids and 75% of trichodactylids are not at-risk (Least Concern), and although none are actually extinct, 56% of pseudothelphusids and 17% of trichodactylids are too poorly known to assess (Data Deficient). Colombia (14 species), Venezuela (7 species), Mexico (6 species), and Ecuador (5 species) are the countries with the highest number of threatened species of Neotropical freshwater crabs. The majority of threatened species are restricted-range semiterrestrial endemics living in habitats subjected to deforestation, alteration of drainage patterns, and pollution. This underlines the need to prioritize and develop conservation measures before species decline to levels from which they cannot recover. These results represent a baseline that can be used to design strategies to save threatened Neotropical species of freshwater crabs.