Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Crabs in the Mara?

During the food web short course, we had several great scientists from the National Museums of Kenya join us, including Laban Njoroge, Head of the Invertebrate Zoology section and an expert in aquatic macroinvertebrates, and John Kochey, a scientist in the Invertebrate Zoology section and a doctoral student studying freshwater prawns. John brought along some prawn traps to set in the river, and at the New Mara Bridge, on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, we caught a crab! We have seen a similar type of crab in the upper Mara, but we have never seen these in the lower Mara, and it turns out this is the first time this species has been documented in the Mara. It is Potamonautes niloticus, which is found within the Nile Basin, including Lake Victoria and its tributaries. It's a beautiful animal, with an olive green back and bright red claws tinged with blue. It's so exciting, after all the time we have spent in the Mara, to still be finding new animals there, especially one as unique as this.

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