Researchers at MS University have discovered new species of crab in Gulf of Khambat that has characteristics distinct from the species in the same genus.
“The crab has very different reproductive appendages, and is morphologically different from two related species in the same genus,” said researchers at the MSU’s department of zoology, who came across the crab during a field study in the coastal village of Kamboi situated in the Gulf of Khambat.
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A research paper on the new crab, which has been named after the erstwhile ruler of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaekwad III, was published in Journal of Asia Pacific Biodiversity, a leading journal in Asia Pacific region published from South Korea. The research was conducted as part of a project titled “crustacean biodiversity of Gujarat” which has been funded by the state government’s Gujarat Biodiversity Board.
“We carried out several consultations with experts across the world to ensure that this is a new species of crab ever found in the world, and even did peer review by publishing a research article in a reputed journal. We decided to name the crab as Ilyoplex Sayajiraoi, to show our respect for Vadodara’s erstwhile ruler, Sayajirao Gaekwad III,” said professor Kauresh Vachhrajani, who lead a team of research students on the project.
Sayajirao Gaekwad III is known for initiating a research on marine animals in Okhamandal in 1900, and has contributed immensely for the development of education and art. He ruled Baroda state till 1939 and brought about several social and economical reformation during his rule, becoming one of the most beloved rulers of Baroda.
As part of the GBB project, as many as 132 species of crabs, lobsters, and shrimps found in the state have been documented, and the report will be submitted next month. The researchers have claimed that of these 132 species, at least ten have been located for the first time in India, although researchers are yet to verify this through peer review. They have also located thirty two species across coastal Gujarat that have been reported for the first time in Gujarat.