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An AMU scientist discovers a rare cave-dwelling crab species in Meghalaya

An AMU scientist discovers a rare cave-dwelling crab species in Meghalaya

Meghalaya: A young scientist has just discovered a new species of cave-dwelling crabs in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya. It is the first ever species of a cave-dwelling crab to be discovered in India.

Nestled in the Himalayas, Meghalaya is known for the magical beauty of its rich forests and water bodies. It is one of India’s four biodiversity hotspots – in the whole world, there are 34 biodiversity hotspots.

Less known is the fact that Meghalaya also boasts some of the world’s longest natural caves and it is in once such cave that these tiny creatures were discovered by 29-year-old Parveen Farzana Absar. Absar is pursuing a Masters in wildlife sciences from Aligarh Muslim University, and was researching cave biology in the east-Jaintia hills at the time of the discovery.

The crab she found is albino, almost blind and lives in dark crevices of the caves with the adults reaching a tiny size of just 2 centimetres.

“These species have adapted to the dark environment of cave… So this crab is almost blind and without colour,” Absar said. She also noted that unlike other crabs, the thin and slender legs of the albino crab have hair on them.

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