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The great story about the miracle coral gall crab Lithoscaptus aquarius

Figure 3. (A) Color image of the holotype of Lithoscaptus aquarius sp. nov. (RMNH.CRUS.D.58325). (B) Ovigerous female (left arrow) and male (right arrow) of L. aquarius sp. nov. after removal from their host, highlighting the size difference between sexes. (C) female L. aquarius sp. nov. inside dwelling and (D) wandering on coral. Crabs in images (B–D) were photographed but not collected for scientific study. All photographs by Siglinde Müller.

As you can imagine, the "work" around the marine encyclopedia is quite extensive. From posting new animals, adapting to changes in science, determining husbandry conditions, origin and many other things that interest aquarists and divers, there is a lot to do.

Our admin team is therefore also composed of several people who volunteer to help build this database of over 15,000 animals. One of them, namely our Siglinde Müller, is especially happy right now. A crab from her aquarium has been re-described by science. She was even allowed to participate in the naming. This is a great honor.

Through the many requests to image authors and scientists, Siglinde and Andreas have been able to build up a real network throughout the world over the years. Of course, it is not only about image material, but also a lot of knowledge and corrections are reported back to us. In the end, we are not absolute professionals ourselves. As the saying goes: you don't have to know it yourself, but you have to know someone who does. In the meantime, many inquiries to scientists have led to a good network and contacts all over the world.

The story is told in short, but it dragged on for more than 6 years. The holotype, the now finally scientifically described miracle coral gall crab, comes from the aquarium of Siglinde Müller. She has been in close contact with the scientist Sancia van der Meij for years.

Sancia and Siglinde were very happy that the scientific description of a holotype from an aquarium was accepted by science, which is really very rare. Sancia and Siglinde agreed together on the species name "aquarius" because this special gall crab is still waiting to be discovered in the sea.

I quote from the original article (translation with DeepL)

This paper describes a new species of gall crab collected from elegant corals (editor's note - wonder corals), the sufficiently well known Catalaphyllia jardinei. The male holotype was collected in a reef tank in Germany in 2016 and is described here using integrative taxonomy. This species, named Lithoscaptus aquarius sp. nov. is the thirteenth to be assigned to the genus. It is morphologically and phylogenetically most closely related to Lithoscaptus semperi, a cryptochirid associated with Trachyphyllia geoffroyi. Like L. semperi, it has a large, broad W-shaped depression on the anterior half of the carapace, but the surface of the carapace of L. aquarius sp. nov. is smooth overall and has no spines or tubercles. This new species is so named because it was found in a reef tank after several years of field research searched in vain for material.


1. Arthropoda MDPI -

2. Meerwasser-Lexikon:

3. Worms:

Things to know about the seawater encyclopedia:
Over the now approx. 22 years in which the encyclopedia is led, many helpers have come and also gone again. That is in the nature of the thing, since it is already quite a lot of work if one means it seriously. For example, Oliver from Panzerwelten is always helping with crabs, or Michael Limberger with the ID and assignment of animals. He has already discovered and corrected misidentifications several times. On the banner of Klaus Kastl is mainly information about the feasibility of breeding marine animals. However, the most dedicated are undoubtedly Andreas Völkers and Siglinde Müller, who have been almost tirelessly posting new animals for many many years and, in the case of Siglinde, also contribute especially much to the identification under the heading WHAT IS THAT.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all past and present helpers especially for their great commitment. You were and are part of something very special, namely THE reference book for aquarists the saltwater encyclopedia.

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robertbaur on 08.08.23#1
Hallo Siglinde,
tolle Geschichte. Das lässt das Aquarianerherz gleich etwas höher schlagen. Finde ich echt super.
Jetzt bleibt nur noch zu erahren warum manche Aquarianer diese Krabbe als Schädling wahrnehmen.
lg Robert
Muelly on 08.08.23#2
Hallo Robert,
Danke schön. Hat mir viel Spaß bereitet und ich war neugierig auf die Bestimmung. Ich vermute, weil Wunderkorallen sich oft nicht dauerhaft halten. Deshalb glaubt man natürlich bei solch einem Fund, den Schuldigen sicher ausgemacht zu haben. Mir ging das ganz am Anfang auch nicht anders. Über ihre tatsächliche Beziehung zum Host ist wenig bekannt und auch vor allem wenig in Erfahrung zu bringen. Sie sollen sich überwiegend vom Korallenschleim ernähren. Mit den Jahren werden immer neue Erkenntnisse dazukommen, auf die ich schon gespannt bin und das betrifft nicht nur die kleinen Gall-Krabben.
lg von Siglinde
BEASTIEPENDENT on 27.08.23#3
Ja, wiiieee geeeeeeiiiiil ist das denn? Super, Siglinde, super!

Wo hattest Du die her? Hast Du ein Bild für mich (für die „caridina“, Druckauflösung)?
robertbaur on 28.08.23#4
Hi Ollie
ja voll faszinierend. Und das aus der Aquaristik.
Bin immer noch ganz angetan von der Meldung.

lg Robert
Muelly on 28.08.23#5
Hi Ollie,
danke schön! Ich habe dir eine separate Mail geschickt.
lg von Siglinde

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