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 photos copyright John P. Hoover unless otherwise credited

Squat Lobsters not in Hawaii's Sea Creatures
Squat lobsters, along with hermit crabs, porcelain crabs and mole crabs, belong to the crustacean group Anomura.
The Bishop Museum's complete list of all anomurans known in Hawaii is here

Dennis McCrea

debrae Baba 2011

In March, 2010, Dennis McCrea sent me this photo of a small squat lobster that Debra Newbery had found at a depth of 80 ft. off the Kona coast of the Big Island. I sent the photo on to Japanese crustacean expert Dr. Keiji Baba, who expressed great interest and requested specimens. Dennis and Debra collected two specimens in April 2010 and sent them to Dr. Baba, who wrote back that it is a new species. Dr. Baba published a full scientific description in April 2011 and named it after Debra! See: Zootaxa 2812: 21–27 (2011)

ODDLY, These fun little animals seem most numerous in the area around Kawaihae on the Big Island of Hawaii. Keoki Stender has posted photos of one at Pupukea, O`ahu. If you find any elsewhere, please let me know. (update 7-12-13 see below!)

Debra also took some video of this animal. She writes:

I filmed 5 different critters - 4 within a couple feet of each other and 1 in another area about 15 feet away. All at around 85 feet deep. Altogether in the 2 areas, we saw 9 or 10. (I'm sure there's more)
We tried a mirror to see if it would get one curious to come out more."

UPDATE! Rob Whitton found what certainly appears to be the same species while diving off French Frigate Shoals in May 2013. Here is a still from video he shot. This suggests that the center of population for this species might well be in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which would help explain why these are so rare and localized in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Rob Whitton


Cory Pittman

Phylladiorhynchus integrirostris (Dana, 1852)

Cory Pittman took this photo of a small squat lobster he found in an algae wash. He sent the specimen to Dr. Keiji Baba who identified it. The species was originally described from Hawaii and has an Indo-Pacific distribution.


Dennis McCrea

Galathea spinosorostris Dana 1852

These two photos by Dennis McCrea were identified as Galathea spinosorostris by Dr. Keiji Baba. (The "unidentified squat lobster" on p. 262 of my book appears to be this species.) Dennis and Debra say these little squat lobsters can be quite common at night on coral. This species was originally described from Hawaii and is widespread in the Indo-Pacific.

Dennis McCrea


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  Text and photos copyright John P. Hoover unless otherwise credited