Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 3 (2012)

Description of a new genus of Cryptochiridae (Decapoda: Brachyura) associated with Siderastrea (Anthozoa: Scleractinia), with notes on feeding habits

Marcelle F.S. Badaro
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Zoologia, LABIMAR , Brazil

Elizabeth G. Neves
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Zoologia, LABIMAR , Brazil

Peter Castro
Biological Sciences Department, California State Polytechnic University , United States

Rodrigo Johnsson
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Zoologia, LABIMAR , Brazil


Members of the Cryptochiridae are small gall-crabs that live as obligate symbionts of scleractinian corals. Only two species have so far been recorded in the western Atlantic Ocean. Herein a new Cryptochiridae genus and species is described, and new information is added on the life history of cryptochirids. The new genus is characterized by having the carapace with the lowest deflection angle among the genera, and also shows the following features: thoracic sternite 4 with setules and constriction smaller than half of the width of the basis, anterior margin curved with apical row of granules; third maxilliped with subcircular exopod reaching medially the lateral margin of the ischium; pereiopod 2 with prominent distomesial and anterolateral expansion on the merus, propodus almost twice larger than dactylus; thoracic sternite 7 with complete medial suture, female pleopod 3 uniramous with longitudinal opening. Male first pleopod straight with subdistal curvature of approximately 90°. Individuals belonging to the new genus are found in galls in massive corals although this structure is cited as being characteristic of ramified corals. The long plumose setae of the maxilliped 3 suggest a filter-feeding function, but the toothless chelae suggest that they are used to gather mucus.


gall crab; associated fauna; coral reef; symbiosis; Cnidaria

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