New Strawberry Crab Discovered Off Coast of Taiwan

strawberry crab photo
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A newly discovered species of crab gives the expression 'fruit of the sea' a whole new meaning. Photos via AFP/Getty

Marine biologists from the National Taiwan Ocean University discovered a new species of crab off the southern Taiwanese coast. With a bright red shell covered with small white spots, the crab resembles a large strawberry. Scientists at the University say that the newly discovered species is similar to the previously discovered Neoliomera pubescens, which is native to the waters near Hawaii, Polynesia and Mauritius--but has a broader (1 inch), clam-shaped shell that makes it a distinct new species.

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University professor Ho Ping-ho, who made the discovery, said that he captured two female specimens of the strawberry crab near Kenting National Park, home to a great diversity of marine life which has yielded new species in the past.

According to a report from NowNews, the urgency in categorizing new species off the coast of Taiwan is increasing as the area rich in wildlife continues to be threatened by pollution from cargo ships in the region. A recent shipwreck near Kenting National Park had some researchers worried that marine life would be devastated.

Professor Ho Ping-ho:

Luckily the oil leak from the shipwreck was not serious, otherwise the two crabs might have been polluted and escaped our eyes.

The two strawberry crabs captured by Ho Ping-ho died shortly after being captured, possibly due to contaminated water in their habitat.