Why biologists are getting excited about a small crab

Rare crustacean discovered during a coastal survey near Barnstaple.

Crab_623-f4465d5

A crab that has not been recorded since 1956 has been found in Devon.

Advertisement

The species, known scientifically as Xaiva biguttata, was found by Jules Agate during a survey for the citizen science project Capturing Our Coast.

“I’m really thrilled to have found a rare species,” says Agate. “I’m by no means a crab geek and I thought it was a juvenile shore crab, which is common species, but I knew it looked a bit ‘wrong’.”

Agate took a photograph and shared it with experts at The Marine Biological Association.

They confirmed it wasn’t a shore crab but was a species that had only been recorded in the UK four times before.

It is a difficult crab to spot as it buries itself, so Agate was lucky to find it during the timed survey, which records different species and their abundance within a set area.

“It just shows you what can turn up when a group of you go out rockpooling,” says Agate.

Capturing Our Coast is a nationwide citizen science project to survey the UK coastline.

Advertisement

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine