A Field Guide to Hong Kong Crabs - Past, Present, Future of the Crabs in Hong Kong
Tsz To Chandler Tsang The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a highly urbanized city yet housing more than 6000 marine species! Crabs, representing about 5% of the total marine biodiversity of Hong Kong, are one of the most commonly spotted macrofauna in intertidal habitats and coral communities. The study of crabs in Hong Kong can be traced back to as early as 1858 when American scientist William Stimpson described several intertidal crabs with Hong Kong as the type locality. Since then, more species have been described in Hong Kong by multiple carcinologists. Despite the long history of study of crabs, systematic review on the composition of crabs in Hong Kong has been lacking. There has also been a lack of well-curated and easily accessible resources for the public on the crabs of Hong Kong. Therefore, a field guide to the crabs of Hong Kong is in the making, hoping to bridge the gap between tedious literatures and amateur naturalists, and to better inform policy formulation and environmental impact assessment. Extensive sampling over the last three years in intertidal and marine habitats led to the collection of more than 130 confirmed records based on morphological and molecular data. Within these records, ~10% are new to Hong Kong! Some of the new records and rare species were found in small, fragmented mangrove patches that are close to human settlements and urbanized area. These discoveries called for protection to not only pristine and complete habitats but also fragmented ones.