New Crab Species Discovered in Costa Rica

A new species of freshwater crab has been identified by biologists at the University of Costa Rica. Named Allacanthos yawi, it was found last year by Luis Hernandez Lara Rolie during exploration of land for a hydropower project. The crab lives in river habitats and is currently believed to only live in Southern Costa Rica.

The new crabs were found on the banks of the Rio Vulcan 1,000 meters above sea level. Mr. Rolie and his associates were surveying the area for a potential hydropower project. About eighty percent of the nation’s electricity is generated by hydropower. Costa Rica is a mountainous country with very high rainfall in some regions and seasonally. One location actually was documented with 359 days of rainfall in a single year.

The dam project located near the crab’s habitat is called El Diquis and some local people are not too happy with its potential environmental impacts.† In addition, several thousand indigenous and non-indigenous people may be displaced by the dam and lake that will be created by it. If the 630 megawatt dam is built it will be the largest hydropower project in Central America.

“To discover a new species of river crab for the country isnít something that happens often,” said Ingo Wehrtmann a researcher at the University of Costa Rica. (Source: He also said such river species are threatened by pollution, and this one in particular is also threatened by proposed expansion of local pineapple farms.

The male is 2.8 centimeters wide and 1.6 centimeters long; the female is slightly smaller. There are now 18 species of documented river crabs in Costa Rica. The crab’s discovery was documented in the journal Zootaxa, in the September 2010 issue.

Image Credit: Luis Hernandez Lara Rolie

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Ewelina Grobelna
Ewelina Grobelna5 years ago

World is an amazing place, it's 21st century and we keep discovering new species. let's make sure we don't destroy this world with the creatures that are not even discovered by humans....

Cindy Rhodes
Cindy Rhodes5 years ago

thank you

katie e.
katie edwards5 years ago

this is so cool, wow

aj E.
aj E5 years ago


Frans Badenhorst
Frans Badenhorst5 years ago

good news!, thanks for the article!

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Great. Thanks for the article.

Kenneth D.
Kenneth Davies5 years ago

good news for us all.

Naomi M.
Naomi Miskimins6 years ago

Interesting. Thanks for the information

Colin Hope
Colin Hope7 years ago


Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago