Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (9): 23030.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023030

• Bioinventories • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Species diversity of intertidal crabs (Decapoda: Brachyura) of Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve, Hainan Province

Erhui Feng1, Weinuo Liang2, Liang Hu2, Xu Zhang3,*()   

  1. 1. Hainan Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve Authority, Haikou 571129
    2. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510006
    3. Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
  • Received:2023-02-06 Accepted:2023-04-18 Online:2023-09-20 Published:2023-05-25
  • Contact: *E-mail:


Aim: Brachyuran crabs are one of the important representatives of large benthic invertebrates in intertidal habitats and also an important component of mangrove wetland ecosystem. Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve (DZGNNR) in Hainan preserves the most typical mangrove wetland ecosystem in China. It is also one of the key areas in the marine biogeographic division of East Asia. However, limited knowledge on intertidal crab species richness and unclear fauna characteristics in this area. Based on a comprehensive field survey combined with previous studies, we have cataloged an updated checklist of intertidal crabs of DZGNNR.

Method: The field survey was conducted in the intertidal zone of DZGNNR between September and November of 2022. During this time, 16 sampling sites were investigated and a total of 207 specimens were collected and identified. The species recorded in previous documents were reassessed and each taxon was revised according to the recent researches.

Results: During the field survey, we collected a total of 64 species of brachyuran crabs from 17 families and 39 genera. Out of these, 22 species were previously undocumented in DZGNNR, and two species were newly discovered in Hainan Province (Elamena rostrata and Parasesarma ungulatum). The updated checklist of brachyuran fauna of DZGNNR now includes 115 species belonging to 22 families and 63 genera.

Conclusions The intertidal brachyuran fauna of DZGNNR is mainly composed of East Asian warm water species, with Indo-West Pacific warm water elements being the most prevalent. This indicates that the DZGNNR is part of the northern South China Sea Subtropical Provinces in terms of its zoobenthic fauna, similar to the intertidal brachyuran fauna found in Guangxi, Guangdong and Fujian. Our study provides new insights on the brachyuran fauna of DZGNNR and north Hainan Island, which improve our understanding of zoobenthic biogeographical patterns in northern South China Sea.

Key words: macrozoobenthos, crustaceans, new records, questionable records, updated checklist