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 photos copyright John P. Hoover unless otherwise credited

Some interesting hermit crabs not in Hawaii's Sea Creatures
The Bishop Museum's complete list of all hermit crabs & relatives known in Hawaii is here

Photo: Pauline Fiene
Calcinus anani Poupin & McLaughlin, 1998

Pauline Fiene 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: Pauline Fiene

photo: Cory Pittman

Catapaguroides hooveri McLaughlin & Pittman, 2002

     Cory 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 specimen.
Can't 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

Calcinus 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!

Congratulations, 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.

And finally, in 2008 science caught up with these sightings in this paper:
Godwin S, Baums IB (2008) The hermit crab Calcinus isabellae Poupin (Crustacea:Decapoda: Anomura: Diogenidae), a new record for the Hawaiian Archipelago, including a review of the genus Calcinus Dana in Hawai‘i. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 100, 52-54

Dardanus brachyops Forest, 1962
family Diogenidae
This large, deep-water hermit crab is described in Spencer Tinker's out-of print book, Pacific Crustacea, published in 1965. Tinker writes:

     "This 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.

Dardanus sp.
family Diogenidae
This hermit crab has not yet been identified.

Ciliopagurus albatrossi Forest, 1995
family Diogenidae
     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 Stender's website.


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  Text and photos copyright John P. Hoover unless otherwise credited