hermit crabs not in Hawaii's
Bishop Museum's complete list of all hermit crabs & relatives
known in Hawaii is here
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: Bob Kern
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' subsitutes."
This photo, taken by Cory Pittman, is a tub-shot of a captured specimen.
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...."
Note: This 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 indicates.
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