6. The status of the endemic Niah Cave Crab (Decapoda: Adeleana chapmani), Sarawak, Malaysia

Donald A McFarlane, Joyce Lundberg


The endemic Niah cave crab was first collected in 1978, at which time it was known only from the type locality, a small area of Niah Great Cave in Sarawak, northwestern Borneo. No further observations have been reported since that time. Because the Niah cave system is heavily impacted by the bird’s nest harvesting trade, and the guano-based ecosystems on which the crabs depend are directly disrupted by widespread guano digging, the survival of the crab population was in question. Extensive fieldwork in Niah Great Cave in July 2011 revealed a single tiny population, occupying a sub-habitat of < 50 m2.  The quality of the habitat is severely compromised by human presence and pollution, such that, if exploration of other caves of the region fails to reveal any other populations, the continued survival of this unique species is unlikely without conservation measures.


Sarawak; Malaysia, Borneo, freshwater crab, cave, troglobite

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5563/spbn.v4i0.39