A research team lead by Christian Lukhaup from the Humboldt University of Berlin has discovered a new extraordinary species of freshwater crayfish. More details about the discovery were published in the journal ZooKeys.
The species called Cherax snowden was exported from Sorong, Indonesia in 2006. An unknown local collector from Kepala Burung seems to have captured the animal in West Paupa, Indonesia and used it for ornamental purposes. The crayfish was imported to Aquarium Dietzenbach in Germany through Maju Aquarium in Jakarta.
Christian Lukhaup explained that the name of the species comes from Edward Joseph Snowden, the American freedom fighter as a way to honor him for what he did in order to defend freedom and justice.
Edward Snowden is currently living in Moscow even though almost 168.000 people have signed a petition to allow him to return, but the White House rejected the petition.
Cherax snowden has most likely been sold under a different name for whole years. However for the researchers it is easy to be distinguished because of the shape of its body and especially because of its very beautiful coloration. The team used sequence divergence in order to prove that it was really a distinct species. Cherax snowden is colored in green and orange and tradesmen have most likely confounded it other members from the genus Cherax that are usually collected and used as ornaments.
Even though this species was identified just now scientists have reasons to believe that Cherax snowden may be exposed to certain risks because of its popularity which is due to the fact that the animals is a colorful addition to aquariums all around the world.
The researchers wrote:
As Cherax snowden is collected in large numbers for the global aquarium trade, as well as for food for the growing local population, the crayfish population will invariably be adversely impacted. According to local collectors, the populations of the species have been decreasing in the last few years.”
As a consequence the trade of this newly-discovered species will not be a practice which will enjoy support. Moreover if the popularity of the crayfish will persist researchers believe that a conservation management plan will be devised and it might also include a captive breeding program.
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