Burrowing Feshwater Crab Potamonautes calcaratus
Subphylum Crustacea. Suborder Brachyra. Order Decapoda. Family Potamonautidae. Subfamily Potamonautinae
© flying cheetah
Pretoriuskop area, Kruger National ParkDescription
The adult size range is from cws 35–42 mm. It has a smooth rounded carapace.
Carapace medium height; epibranchial tooth large forming deep epibranchial sinus, positioned well behind postfrontal crest; carapace sidewall in three parts; anterolateral margin behind epibranchial tooth raised, smooth, curving inward over carapace at posterior end, not continuous with posterolateral margin; large, pointed distal tooth on both anterior-inferior and posterior-inferior margins of merus of cheliped; dactylus of major cheliped of adult male flat, broad, enclosing narrow interspace; chelipeds highly unequal.Distribution
The geographic range of this species includes Mpumalanga and North-West Provinces in South Africa, and Mozambique. It is also found in the Charre and Caia River basins in the lower Zambezi River basin in Zimbabwe.Habitat
The habitat of this species is seasonal marshy wet ground in savannah country, around pans and waterholes. Potamonautes calcaratus
is the most terrestrial of the freshwater crab species found in South Africa, and lives in burrows it digs near waterholes or pans; it is the only South African freshwater crab to dig a burrow that reaches a depth of 70 cm. During the day it lives in burrows, while at night it leaves its burrows to feed in water or on land. This species moves into open water when it is available during the rainy season.
Links: Notes on the taxonomy of Potamonautes obesus. Reed, S. K. and Cumberlidge, N. Zootaxa 418: 1–20 (2004)