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Potamon ibericum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA MALACOSTRACA DECAPODA POTAMIDAE

Scientific Name: Potamon ibericum
Species Authority: (Bieberstein, 1808)
Synonym(s):
Potamon albanicum Starobogatov & Vassilenko, 1979
Potamon ibericum Pretzmann, 1963 subspecies meandris
Thelphusa fluviatilis Czerniavsky, 1884 subspecies taurica
Taxonomic Notes: Subfamily Potaminae. Pretzmann (1983) recognised three subpopulations for this species (as Potamon (Pontipotamon) ibericum tauricum, which he called nations), mainly for populations that inhabit islands. The subspecies Potamon ibericum meandris Pretzmann, 1963 and Potamon albanicum Starobogatov and Vassilenko (1979) were also not recognised by Brandis et al. (2000). This species was revised to Potamon (Pontipotamon) ibericum by Brandis et al. (2000) and is treated here as Potamon ibericum.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Cumberildge, N.
Reviewer(s): Cumberlidge, N. and McIvor, A.
Justification:
Despite the wide distribution of this species (E00 2.5 million km²) and the relatively high number of localities and records, some of its populations (especially those on islands) are discontinuous and highly fragmented, and the threat level is high, so there is cause for concern for the future of some of its isolated subpopulations. Although the wide distribution and high number of records for this species might imply that it should be assessed as Least Concern, the balance of evidence indicates that populations of this species may nevertheless be under immediate and long-term threat from rapid anthropogenic changes affecting its habitat such as water diversion, drainage, habitat disturbance, over-harvesting, and pollution. This species is therefore assessed here as Near Threatened (NT) because it is possible that populations of P. ibericum in parts of its range might be in danger of extirpation in the future, especially those on islands or near centres of human population on the mainland. Therefore it may be close to qualifying as Vulnerable under A2.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has a wide and highly fragmented distribution ranging from the the middle and lower Danube River system and its tributaries and other coastal rivers of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, to the rivers of the Caucasus, northern Greece, and the northern Aegean islands. In the Black Sea region this species is found in Bulgaria (Haskovo, Varna, Burgas, Lovec, and Plovdiv Provinces), Ukraine, Crimea, Caucasia (= Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). This species is also found in the region to the south of the Caspian Sea region in Turkmenistan (Maurakis et al., 2004) and Iran (Mazandaran, Province). In Turkey, this species is found both in the European part (Erdine, Kirklareli, and Tekirdag Provinces), and the Asian parts in the Provinces of Canakkale, Balikesir, Bursa, Bilecik, Sakarya, Ankara, and Rize. In Greece, Potamon ibericum occurs in Macedonia and the northeastern mainland part of Greece east of the Axios River to the Evros River at the Greece-Turkey border in Hevros,Thessaloniki, and Makedonia Provinces. Potamon ibericum is also found in the northeastern Aegean region on the islands of Thassos (Kavala Province), Samothraki, Chios (Chios Province), and Lesbos (Lesbos Province). The populations of this species in southern France from the Herault River near St. Guilhem le Desert, 350 km west of Nice are thought to be relatively recent introductions to France via human activity rather than representing relict populations that reached this location by natural means. Although the name might imply that P. ibericum occurs in the Iberian Peninsula, it is not found in either Spain or Portugal, and there are no species of true freshwater crabs in either of these countries.

Turkey (Meandre, Trabzon, Samsun, Sakarya River, Bursa, Istanbul, cave by Incaya by Brussa/Bursa), Macedonia (Lake Doiran), Greece (Soufli, River Maritza), Crimea, Caucasia, Turkmenistan, Black Sea, Bulgaria, Caspian Sea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, France.
Countries:
Native:
Armenia (Armenia, Armenia); Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; Georgia; Greece (Greece (mainland)); Iran, Islamic Republic of; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia, Turkey-in-Europe); Turkmenistan; Ukraine (Krym)
Introduced:
France (France (mainland) - Native)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is relatively little known about the population size or abundance of this species in most parts of tits range, despite the wide distribution and high number of records from over 10 countries. However, in the Crimea (Ukraine) there has been a distinct decline in population abundance and distribution of this species since the mid 1970s, and in some places populations of crabs may have already disappeared, and in others they may now be threatened. This has led to the authorities in the Ukraine to assess this species as Endangered in that country. Sharp population declines in other parts of the range of P. ibericum also give cause for concern, especially those that are isolated on islands. On the island of Chios in Greece, industrial pollution near Kalimasis (Kallimasia) has rendered stream water visibly dirty and no crabs were found living there in 1988 (Pretzmann 1993). Elsewhere in the southwest of Chios, rivers shown as perennial on maps have actually dried out and either have very little natural running water or are actually completely dry. A one-week search for freshwater crabs on Chios in 1988 found only a single population of crabs living in a small stream about 100 m long in the north of the island near Hagos (Pretzmann 1993). Similarly, on the Greek island of Lesbos, a population of freshwater crabs previously found in a small stream near Agra may be threatened or extirpated because this stream was reported to be in danger of drying out in the 1980s. On the other hand, Potamon ibericum has accidentally been introduced in southern France, and is apparently thriving there.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: On the island of Cyprus, this species inhabits streams and rivers up to altitudes where the water temperature does not get below 5°C, but it is absent from estuaries due to the relatively high salinities (brackish water) and pollution. Crabs survive temporary drying up events by hiding in deep burrows and under stones on river-beds and are also found in artificial ponds, but do not breed in stagnant water. Crabs feed on land at night and during the day when it rains, and can survive without any water for a long time in humid air. This species eats a variety of foods including detritus, green filamentous algae, fallen leaves, worms, amphipods, insect larvae, molluscs, tadpoles, frogs, fish and carrion and will eat any plant or animal food. Copulation and spawning take place during the warm season from June until October. For the first 5-7 days hatchlings live under the female abdomen, where they grow up to carapace widths of 3.6 mm, after which they adopt an independent life mode.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In the Ukraine this species is threatened by habitat destruction resulting from water supply projects such as river-bed straightening and the building of reservoirs. In addition habitats may dry up due to the withdrawal of water for local needs, and crabs may be adversely affected by water pollution from non-purified sewage. Sometimes crabs are caught for food or for the aquarium trade. In Greece population declines and even local extinctions of P. ibericum relate to habitat destruction by human activities including dam construction and operation, stream channelization, canalization, and pollution. Another major threat is stream desiccation resulting from water abstraction for crop irrigation and the diversion of rivers and streams (e.g. the Evinos and Mornos Rivers) for potable water supplies for Athens and other cities and towns. Most development in Greece is occurring at lower elevations and this is affecting the small to medium sized streams near coastal areas where Potamon populations are most prevalent.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In the Ukraine this species is listed in that country's Red Data Book but in Greece no conservations measures are in place. Conservation measures proposed include a complete inventory of the distribution and habitat requirements of this species, an evaluation of the population levels and trends, and the creation of protected areas.

Citation: Cumberildge, N. 2008. Potamon ibericum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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