interesting hermit crabs not in Hawaii's
Bishop Museum's complete list of all hermit crabs & relatives
known in Hawaii is here
Photo: Pauline Fiene
Calcinus anani Poupin & McLaughlin, 1998
found this hermit in January 2014 at a depth of 60 ft. off South
Maui. It was unfamiliar to her, so she sent out photos for identification.
Both Cory Pittman and Joseph Poupin identified it as Calcinus
anani, previously known only from French Polynesia (Tuamotus
and Marquesas). This is the first record for Hawai`i. In French
Polynesia it is a somewhat deep-dwelling species, most common below
300 ft. This may explain why it has not been noticed before in Hawai`i.
A similar hermit, previously thought to be C. anani, was
recently described from Japan by Machel Malay as Calcinus fuscus.
It would be interesting if this Hawaiian hermit proves to be intermediate
between the two.
Photo: Jeff Hill
Calcinus revi Poupin
& McLaughlin, 1998
tide pools in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, Jeff Hill found several
tiny, almost all-white hermits which he could not identify. They
had dark tips to the legs and a dark ocular peduncle (eyestalk).
Searching the web, Jeff found something that looked like his hermits
on a website
run by Dr. Joseph Poupin--a little crab called Calcinus revi,
known from French Polynesia and Japan. Jeff sent photos to several
experts but no one was able to confirm the ID from photos alone.
Eventually, he preserved a few specimens in vodka and sent them
to Dr. Patsy McLaughlin in Washington State, who confirmed that
one, an apparently mature male, did indeed match up to the published
description of Calcinus revi, making this a new record for
Hawaii. (The other specimen was a juvenile and not examined.)
amazing coincidence, right while all this was going on, Bob Kern
sent me the photo below of a small white hermit he had photographed
some years ago off Oahu, which could be Calcinus revi as
well. Bob does not recall exactly where he took the photo, but it
might have been in a tide pool at Pupukea.
I notified Dr. Poupin of all this
and he wrote back that he considered these developments to be most
interesting. He added that the supposed Japanese record for C.
revi has turned out to be a misidentified juvenile Calcinus
elegans and that this finding may raise questions about the
validity of revi as a species, even though the original specimens
were from Fangataufa Atoll, French Polynesia. (Juvenile hermit crabs,
which often have different coloration from the adults, have fooled
experts before.) Although his records say that he has a specimen
of an ovigerous female revi, proving that this tiny hermit
is fully grown and not a juvenile, he cannot now locate the specimen.
He would very much like to see another female bearing eggs in order
to settle the issue for sure. Jeff, there's a mission for you!
photo: Cory Pittman
Catapaguroides hooveri McLaughlin & Pittman, 2002
Pittman found several specimens of this tiny, colorful, fast-moving
hermit crab in sand-dwelling Halimeda beds off West Maui
in 1998 and 1999. He sent them to hermit crab specialist Pat McLaughlin
for identification and they turned out to be an undescribed species.
In 2002 Pat and Cory published a description of this animal in
the journal Pacific Science, generously naming it after me. Handsome
devil, isn't he? Cory has found these guys only in sand patches
between clumps of the seaweed Halimeda, where, he writes,
it is by far the most abundant hermit. (In the weed itself other
species are more common.) He also reports that it "frequently
abandons its shell and runs off if handled roughly" and that
"it appears to be fairly indiscriminate in its choice of
shells, sometimes even using segments of crustacean molts, hollowed-out
segments of Halimeda, or other 'atypical' substitutes."
This photo, taken by Cory Pittman, is a tub-shot of a captured
wait to read more? See McLaughlin PA and Pittman C, 2002. Reinstatement
and rediagnosis of Catapaguroides setosus and description of a
second Hawaiian species of the genus (Decapoda: Anomura: Paguridea:
Paguridae) Pacific Science 56(1): 41-48.
Photo: Bob Kern
isabellae Poupin 1997
Bob Kern photographed
this spectacular little hermit crab in July 2003 in front of the
Firehouse at Pupukea Beach Park, O`ahu at a depth of 30-40 ft.along
the wall. I sent the image to three experts, Dr. Patsy A. McLaughlin
in Washington State, Joseph Poupin in France, and Gustav Paulay
in Florida. All identified it immediately as this species, known
up to now only from French Polynesia and the Mariana Islands.
Dr. Poupin also mentioned that it is named after his wife!
Bob, on the first Hawaiian record of a very pretty little crab.
If you read French and would like more details about this hermit
see Zoosystema 19(4): 683-719, Poupin, J., Les pagures
du genre Calcinus en Polynesie francaise avec la description de
trois nouvelles especes (Decapoda, Anomura, Diogenidae].
Note: As of
March 2006 Bob and Tina Owens have found and photographed several
of these off Kona and Jeffrey Hill recently found one as well.
In August 2007 I found half a dozen of them in one head of Cauliflower
Coral not far off the beach at Honokohau, in Kona.
This large, deep-water hermit crab is described in Spencer Tinker's
out-of print book, Pacific Crustacea, published in 1965.
beautiful crustacean is the second largest hermit crab in Hawaii
and one of the world's rarest. The upper parts of the body are
buff or creamy-white in color, the carapace is marked with darker
orange areas and lines, and the under surface of the body and
legs is almost white in color. The legs of this crab are covered
over their upper and outer surfaces with spines and tufts of stiff
orange hair. The chelipeds are tipped with black, and the walking
legs likewise terminate in a black-tipped claw. The antennae are
a bright orange-red color. The body of this crab measures more
than 8 in. in length.....
At present this crab is known to
occur only in Hawaii and Madagascar, although it undoubtedly occurs
over much of the intervening area.
This crab is rarely seen because
it inhabits the deeper water on the outside of the reef. Specimens
from Hawaii are usually captured at depths beyond 100 ft., and
the single specimen from Madagascar was captured at about 250
ft. This species inhabits shells of the genus Tonna which
it decorates with anemones, Calliactis armatus Verrill...."
hermit is regularly found in deep lobster traps in the Northwest
Hawaiian Islands and, at least in Hawai`i, is not as rare as Tinker
NOTE: This and two crabs below were collected by Robert B. Moffitt
from lobster traps set in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Depths
were several hundred feet.
This hermit crab has not yet been identified.
albatrossi Forest, 1995
This hermit was collected alive
from a deep lobster trap by Robert B. Moffitt somewhere in the
NWHI sometime around 1997. Initially I identified it as Ciliopagurus
hawaiiensis, photographed it, and released it. Dr. Gustav
Paulay later saw the photo and suggested that it looks more like
something related to C. tricolor from the Western Indian
Ocean, based on the color of the bands on the legs and claws..
In August 2013 Matt Ross collected a live specimen from a submersible
research vessel from a depth of 250 ft. off Waikiki. Scott Godwin
of the Bishop Museum identified it as C. albatrossi. This
crab was first collected by the Albatross expedition off Moloka`i
in 1902 but it was not until 1995 that French crab specialist
Jacques Forest formally named and described it. A complete set
of photos are posted on Keoki