On a recent expedition to the remote forests of Sierra Leone, West Africa, researchers found two species of crabs new to science and rediscovered two species not seen in more than half a century. For 23 days, Pierre A. Mvogo Ndongo, a researcher from the University of Douala in Cameroon, trekked through remote rainforests in search of the Sierra Leone crab (Afrithelphusa leonensis), a unique purple-clawed land crab that has not been spotted by scientists since 1955. “It was not easy,” Mvogo Ndongo said in a press release. “This trip was very, very difficult. You have to be psychologically strong. But I was very determined.” On his journey, Mvogo Ndongo asked locals if they had seen crabs that live on land, far from permanent water sources. Two men in Moyamba district described colorful crabs living nearby and led him to a farm bordering the forest. Within three days, Mvogo Ndongo and his team found an Afzelius’s crab (Afrithelphusa afzelii), which has had no recorded sighting for 225 years (since 1796). Over the next few days, the researchers found many of the orange-legged, purple-bodied crabs in that area, indicating the presence of a healthy local population. In early 2021 the Afzelius’s crab (Afrithelphusa afzelii) was spotted by scientists for the first time since 1796. Photo by Pierre A. Mvogo Ndongo courtesy of re:wild. The team then traveled to Sugar Loaf Mountain in Western Area National Park in search of their target species, the Sierra Leone crab. The spread of COVID-19 and…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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