The land crab Johngarthia planata (Stimpson, 1860) (Crustacea, Brachyura, Gecarcinidae) colonizes human-dominated ecosystems in the continental mainland coast of Mexico
The land crab Johngarthia planata (Stimpson, 1860) has been reported from the Baja California Peninsula and several oceanic islands in the Eastern Pacific as well as inshore islands of the Mexican, Costa Rican and Colombian coast. However, the species has not been observed on the continental mainland, as it is likely that the high diversity of terrestrial predators/competitors make the establishment of mainland populations nearly impossible. In this contribution, several new records of this species that have been observed in urban areas along the continental Pacific coast of Mexico are reported. These records demonstrate that the presence of humans does not necessarily have a negative impact on land crab species. Indeed, the presence of humans may actually discourage the presence of native crab predators/competitors and hence increase the likelihood of a successful mainland settlement of land crab species that are otherwise island and peninsula restricted. The presence of J. planata is ecologically relevant for coastal forests because gecarcinid crabs significantly influence plant recruitment and J. planata is considerably larger than the mainland species Gecarcinus quadratus.