|Photo by Prof Peter Ng.|
In 1887, Alfred Walker in London reported on a collection of crustaceans collected by Surgeon-General Archer had collected in Singapore between 1879 and 1883.
Of the species obtained, one was one specimen unusual spider crab collected by dredging in shallow waters that was described as new to science, Maja miersii.
Lanchester (1900), collecting in Singapore some years later, found the species again, collecting one small female specimen from off Pasir Panjang. The original specimen has long being lost.
The species has then been reported from Japan and Australia. As it turns out, studies by Singapore-based scientists have now shown that the Singapore Spider Crab, Maja miersii, is known for certain only from Singapore, with few specimens known to science. The Australian and Japanese records actually belong to different species!
Not only this – they belong to a new genus – NOT Maja.
As this work progresses, it is heartening to know that several hours ago, the CMBS crew led by Bertrand Richer de Forges finally collected a fresh specimen – a lovely female – and the largest ever found! Not only do we now report the crab after a century hiatus – we also here document its splendid colours for the first time – white, red, brown, pink and purple!
Prof Peter showed me this crab which was found even before the Southern Expedition started!
Volunteer sign up for the Southern Expedition are already closed due to limited places and early logistical arrangements needed for participation.
But no worries, you CAN still join the Survey! Lots of surveys will continue after the Expedition, just at a less frenzied rate. There will be lots of other opportunities for volunteers to participate in dredging, field surveys as well as laboratory sessions. To join the Mega Marine Survey, register your interest in this form and you'll be invited to join the mailing list to receive updates on the Survey and sign up for Survey activities. Also check out the FAQs for more about the Survey.