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Ellen Muller | profile | all galleries >> Candy Striped Hermit Crab, Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Candy Striped Hermit Crab, Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae

New species of marine hermit crab discovered in Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Meet the Candy Striped Hermit. It’s official name is Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae

Link to the scientific article...
http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=11132

On a night dive, in December of 2015, I took some photographs of a Flaming Reef Lobster (Enoplometopus antillensis). Back home, when I looked at the photos on my computer I noticed an unusual looking, extremely small hermit crab with coloring unlike any that I had seen before. I sent the photo to a crustacean expert, Arthur Anker, who suggested that I forward the photo to Rafael Lemaitre who specializes in hermit crabs. Neither had seen anything like it but the detail in the photo was too poor to make a positive identification. I was told to try and get some better close up photos. Thinking this was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack I went back to the area where I photographed the lobster and luckily I found three of the hermit crabs and got some decent photos. Rafael’s message upon seeing the photos “ This is amazing, shows how little we know of the Caribbean. I still can’t be sure, but even with your earlier photo I had the suspicion it might be a species of Pylopaguropsis, of which several species in the Pacific have similar striking color patterns. There are 16 described species worldwide, but only one is known from the western Atlantic (and it is not that one on just color differences). The species in this genus tend to have very massive right chelipeds, with a flattened chela, much like it appears to be in the photos you just sent. All subject to confirmation by examination of specimens.” After obtaining the proper paperwork a few specimens were sent to the Smithsonian Institution and it was confirmed that these hermit crabs are indeed a new species. Special thanks to Rafael Lemaitre who was so enthusiastic about describing this beautiful little crab. Thanks to VIP Diving, Frank van Slobbe, Paul Hoetjes and CIEE’s Rita Peachey and Amy Wilde for their help with this new species.

The hermit crab is named after my granddaughter in hopes that she will continue the tradition of celebrating and protecting the amazing diversity of marine life in Bonaire’s waters.
Candy Striped Hermit Crab
Candy Striped Hermit Crab
Candy Striped Hermit Crab
Candy Striped Hermit Crab
Candy Striped Hermit
Candy Striped Hermit
CS Hermit Crab with Eggs
CS Hermit Crab with Eggs
Candy Striped Hermit
Candy Striped Hermit
Flaming Reef Lobster and Candy Striped Hermit
Flaming Reef Lobster and Candy Striped Hermit
VIDEO
VIDEO
Broadbanded Moray & Candy Striped Hermits
Broadbanded Moray & Candy Striped Hermits
Candy Striped Hermit
Candy Striped Hermit