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American University biologist discovers new crab species
Date:11/26/2012

Areopaguristes tudgei. That's the name of a new species of hermit crab recently discovered on the barrier reef off the coast of Belize by Christopher Tudge, a biology professor at American University in Washington, D.C.

Tudge has been interested in biology his whole life, from boyhood trips to the beach collecting crustaceans in his native Australia, to his undergraduate and PhD work in zoology and biology at the University of Queensland. He has collected specimens all over the world, from Australia to Europe to North and South America.

Until now, he has never had a species named after him. He only found out about his namesake after reading an article about it in the journal Zootaxa. Apparently, finding out after-the-fact is standard practice in the highly formalized ritual of naming a new species.

The two crustacean taxonomists and authors of the paper who named the new crab after Tudge, Rafael Lemaitre of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and Darryl L. Felder of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette's Department of Biology Laboratory for Crustacean Research, have known Tudge since he first came to Washington in 1995 as a postdoc research fellow at the Smithsonian.

Crustecean Elation

Lemaitre and Felder have been collecting specimens on the tiny Belizean island for decades and for more than 10 years, they had asked Tudgewho specializes in the structures of crustacean reproduction and how they relate to the creatures' evolutionary historyto join them on one of their semiannual research outings.

Finally, in February 2010, Tudge joined them on a tiny island covered with hundreds of species of their favorite fauna.

It was crab heaven for a cast of crustacean guys.

"So you can take 40 steps off the island and you're on the edge of the reef, and then the back part of the reef is what they call th
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Contact: Maggie Barrett
barrett@american.edu
202-885-5951
American University
Source:Eurekalert  

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