40 species of freshwater crab in Sri Lanka face extinction

A new survey has revealed that several freshwater crab species in southeast Asia are on the verge of being wiped out due to pollution and habitat destruction.

Much of the sewage and chemicals pumped into rivers and streams is doing untold damage to Sri Lanka's ecosystem.

A BBC report says that 40 out 50 species of freshwater crabs in Sri Lanka are threatened. We only know this because of a study conducted as a part of a global study assessing the extinction risk of freshwater invertebrates.

Just imagine the state of other species that haven't been surveyed? There could be countless other species either wiped out, or are on the verge of extinction.


Freshwater crabs are essential to many freshwater ecosystems. Some feed on fallen leaves and algae, while other species help cycle nutrients by eating vast quantities of detritus.

The crabs themselves are an important source of food for a range of birds such as herons and kingfishers, reptiles such as monitor lizards and crocodiles and amphibians such as frogs and toads. Mammals that like to dine on freshwater crabs include otters, mongooses, civets as well as wild boar and even macaque monkeys.

Because most species require pristine water to survive, they are also excellent indicators of good water quality.
As Sri Lankans we must do more to protect our island. Many of us play no part in conservation, even if it's as simple as not using plastic bags. I no longer use plastic shopping bags. I say "no" to it at stores. I carry a messenger bag with me at most times. Thousands of plastic bags find it's way into our rivers. They almost always end up in the ocean.

At this point I don't know how we can contribute towards saving the freshwater crab. I am unaware of any initiative in Sri Lanka set up to ensure pesticides, chemicals and garbage don't pollute the habitats of these endangered crabs.

If you know more please leave a comment below.



balasaravanan said...

Hydro electric plants are now the major contribution to the declination of river flow, home to many species of wildlife.
Unless we impose the one child policy and encourage adoption over artificial insemination we cannot fight the ever growing demand for electricity and deforestation.

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