Liberonautes latidactylus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Liberonautes latidactylus
Species Authority: (De Man, 1903)
Common Name(s):
English Common Creek Crab
Taxonomic Notes: Bott (1955) treated this species as Liberonautes latidactylus latidactylus. Cumberlidge (1997, 1998, 1999) revised the taxonomy of this species and regarded it as the valid species Liberonautes latidactylus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Cumberlidge, N.
Reviewer(s): Clotilde-Ba, F.-L., Attipoe, F.Y.K. & Darwall, W. and McIvor, A.
This species has been evaluated against the criteria and it does not qualify for CR, EN, VU, or NT. It is listed as LC in view of its wide distribution (an extent of occurrence well in excess of 20,000 sq km, and an area of occupancy that is estimated to be in excess of 2,000 sq km even when its restriction to the rivers within its range is factored in). Estimates of a stable population size and abundance are based on large numbers of specimens collected recently from a number of different localities (Cumberlidge, 1999, 2005; Cumberlidge & Huguet, 2003) and on its a strong representation in museum collections, with some specimens dating back to over 100 years. There is no direct information on ongoing decline in habitat quality, on the number of mature individuals, or on population fluctuations.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:West Africa: This species is common in the western part of the West African region with a distributional range from Sénégal and Mauritania to Ghana, in an area bounded by the Sahara desert and the Atlantic ocean. The species has been recorded in rainforest from localities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Côte-d'Ivoire and Ghana, and in savanna from localities in Sénégal, Mauritania, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte-d'Ivoire. In Ghana it is found in the Prah River in the southern Ashanti region.
Côte d'Ivoire; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Mali; Mauritania; Senegal; Sierra Leone
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is a widespread and not uncommon species.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Liberonautes latidactylus is the most common and most frequently caught freshwater crab in small streams throughout the rainforest and savannah zones of West Africa. It is also encountered from time to time on land adjacent to streams. During the day these crabs remain inactive, lying hidden under stones or in crevices in the stream bed. At night crabs leave their resting places to feed on dead organic material or on small aquatic animals, such as molluscs, which they find in the creeks. Crabs also eat vegetable matter, and are attracted into traps baited with cassava, palm nuts, red papaya, or meat. Occasionally L. latidactylus is found on land adjacent to creeks, feeding on the abundant vegetable matter and small invertebrates on the forest floor.

This species is economically important because it is the commonest freshwater crab species and forms part of the diet of many people in West Africa. This species is also medically important because it is the predominant second intermediate host of Paragonimus uterobilateralis, the human lung fluke that cause human paragonimiasis in Liberia and Guinea (Sachs and Voelker 1982) and in Côte-d’Ivoire (Nozais et al. 1980). This species plays a very important role in the transmission of the human lung fluke to humans. Liberonautes latidactylus also serves as the host of the larvae of biting blackflies (Simulium) that are the vectors of Onchocerca volvulus, the parasite that causes river blindness (onchocerciasis) in parts of Liberia and Guinea and elsewhere in West Africa.
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major present and future threats to this species include loss/degradation (human induced) of its stream habitat associated with deforestation and human population increases in most parts of its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are known to be in place for this species.

Bibliography [top]

Bott, R. 1955. Die Süßwasserkrabben von Afrika (Crust., Decap.) und ihre Stammesgeschichte. Annales du Musée du Congo belge (Tervuren, Belgique) C-Zoologie 3(3)(3(1)): 209-352.

Cumberlidge, N. 1997. The African and Madagascan freshwater crabs in the Museum of Natural History, Vienna (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Potamoidea). Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien 99(B): 571-589.

Cumberlidge, N. 1998. The African and Madagascan freshwater crabs in the Zoologische Staatssammlung, Munich (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Potamoidea), Spixiana. 21(3): 193-214.

Cumberlidge, N. 1999. The freshwater crabs of West Africa. Family Potamonautidae. Institut de récherche pour le développement (IRD), Paris, Paris.

Cumberlidge, N. 2006. Inventaire rapide des crustacés décapodes de la préfecture de Boké en Guinée. Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) Bulletin of Biological Assessment / Bulletin RAP d’Evaluation Rapide 41: 38-46.

Cumberlidge, N. & Huguet, D. 2003. Les Crustacés Décapodes du Nimba et sa région. Memoires du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris 190: 211-229.

Cumberlidge, N. & Sachs, R. 1989. A key to the crabs of Liberian freshwaters. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Zoologie 76: 221-229.

Cumberlidge, N. & Sachs, R. 1989. Three new subspecies of the West African fresh-water crab Liberonautes latidactylus (DeMan, 1903) from Liberia, with notes on their ecology. Zeitschrift fur Angewante Zoologie: 425-439.

de Man, J.G. 1903. On Potamon (Potamonautes) latidactylum, a new fresh-water crab from Upper Guinea.

Nozais, J. P., Doucet, J., Dunan, J. & Assale N’Dri. 1980. Les paragonimoses en Afrique Noire. A propos d'un foyer récent de Côte-d'Ivoire..

Sachs, R. & Voelker, J. 1982. Human paragonimiasis caused by Paragonimus uterobilateralis in Liberia and Guinea..

Citation: Cumberlidge, N. 2008. Liberonautes latidactylus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 29 March 2015.
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