Candy-Striped Hermit Crab Discovered in Caribbean

Posted on January 27, 2017

Candy-striped hermit crab, Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae

The Candy-Striped Hermit Crab is a newly discovered species of hermit crab. The hermit crab was photographed and recorded on video by underwater photographer Ellen Muller at dive sites in the National Marine Park of the southern Caribbean island of Bonaire.

The small hermit crab species has red and white stripes on its legs. The color pattern reminded author Dr. Rafael Lemaitre, Smithsonian Institution, USA, of a traditional candy cane. The crab is named Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae after Ellen Muller's young granddaughter Molly Muller.

The hermit crab has a unique pincer that is very large in size when compared to its body. The underside of the claw is scoop-like. The researchers do not yet know the full function of the claw but the hermit crab was seen pushing itself with the big claw along the bottom.

A research paper on the crab was published here in the journal, ZooKeys. The hermit crab can also be seen in this video recorded by Muller. Take a look:

Photo: Rafael Lemaitre and Ellen Muller

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