Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The systematics of land crabs of the genus Gecarcoidea and recognition of a pseudocryptic species, G. humei, from the eastern Indian Ocean (Crustacea : Decapoda : Gecarcinidae)

Joelle C. Y. Lai A C , Hsi-Te Shih B D and Peter K. L. Ng A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, 2 Conservatory Drive, Singapore 117377, Singapore.

B Department of Life Science and Research Center for Global Change Biology, National Chung Hsing University, 250 Kuo Kuang Road, Taichung 402, Taiwan.

C College of Alice and Peter Tan, National University of Singapore, 8 College Avenue East, #B1-50, Singapore 138615, Singapore.

D Corresponding author. Email: hitshih@dragon.nchu.edu.tw

Invertebrate Systematics 31(4) 406-426 https://doi.org/10.1071/IS16052
Submitted: 24 July 2016  Accepted: 13 January 2017   Published: 9 June 2017

Abstract

The gecarcinid genus Gecarcoidea H. Milne Edwards, 1837 is currently represented by two species from the Indo-West Pacific – the widely distributed purple land crab, G. lalandii H. Milne Edwards, 1837, and the red crab endemic to Christmas Island, G. natalis (Pocock, 1889). One species, G. humei (Wood-Mason, 1874), described from the Nicobar Islands, has had a confused taxonomic history, but was treated as a junior synonym of G. lalandii by Türkay (1974) in his revision of the family. In this study, using molecular as well as morphological characters, we show that G. humei is a valid species. Gecarcoidea lalandii and G. humei have distinct non-overlapping distributions throughout much of their range, with G. lalandii occurring in most of South-east Asia and the West Pacific, while G. humei is known only from the eastern Indian Ocean. On Christmas Island, in the eastern Indian Ocean, however, all three species are present. As a result, Christmas Island is the only locality where all extant species of Gecarcoidea are found. The three species can also be separated by differences in live colours and patterns, as well as proportions of the carapace, male abdomen, ambulatory legs and third maxillipeds, and details of the orbits and male first gonopods.

Additional keywords: cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, endemic species, sympatry.


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