Elassochirus tenuimanus (Dana, 1851)
Common name(s): Widehand hermit crab
|Synonyms: Bernhardus tenuimanus, Eupagurus tenuimanus, Pagurus tenuimanus|
|Elassochirus tenuimanus from 12 m depth, Coffin Rocks, Bowman Bay.|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2005)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Elassochirus is the only hermit crab genus in this area has a large right cheliped that has a carpus that is wider than long. The other Elassochirus species, such as E. cavimanus and E. gilli, have a propodus to the right cheliped that is narrower than the carpus.
Geographical Range: Bering sea and Aleutian Islands, Alaska to Washington; northwestern Pacific
Depth Range: Intertidal (rarely) to 388 m
Habitat: Around rocks, mud, sand, or shell bottoms, but usually near rocks
Biology/Natural History: This species uses the large right claw to block the entrance to the shell when the animal retreats inside (photo). When walking, the claw is bent beneath the body. The hydroid Hydractina milleri often lives on the shells this hermit crab lives in. Ovigerous females in Washington can be found from August to May. Larvae hatch March to May. Planktonic stages last several months.
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O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
The large, flattened right chela is used to seal the entrance of the shell when the animal withdraws inside. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005
In this side view the color pattern on the walking legs can be seen: The propodus and dactyl have rows of red spots. The carpus has red stripes. The merus has large areas of purplish-blue.
This individual is scavenging in an Enteroctopus dofleini midden. Underwater photo by Jim Nestler, July 2005
Another individual photographed underwater by Kirt Onthank, July 2007. It is living in a leafy hornmouth shell.