Pagurus samuelis (Stimpson, 1857)
Common name(s): Blueband hermit crab
|Synonyms: Eupagurus samuelis|
|Pagurus samuelis in a Tegula funebralis shell. At Little Corona del Mar, CA|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, March 2005)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: The blue dactyls on the 2nd and 3rd legs, and the red unbanded antennae are distinctive. Of similar species, P. granosimanus has olive-green legs with small blue dots. P. beringanus is mostly subtidal and has a red band at the articulation of the propodus and dactyl.
Geographical Range: Alaska to Punta Eugenia, Baja California.
Depth Range: High intertidal to subtidal
Habitat: Rocky intertidal on the outer coast. Not often found in inland seas.
Biology/Natural History: One of the most common intertidal hermit crabs on the outer coast, especially in southern and central California. Reproduces in June and July in northern waters. This species seems to have a strong preference for Tegula funebralis shells, which they will steal from one another. Do not seem to kill the Tegula to get their shells. Active especially in the evening and at night. Adults eat algae, especially large brown algae and scavenge dead animals. Predators include the pile perch, sheephead, and spotted kelpfish. During courtship, male grasps female's shell and may carry her around for a day or longer, occasionally knocking his shell repeatedly against hers. Mating is brief (only a few seconds; both animals must nearly leave their shells to mate).
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Morris et al., 1980
Ricketts et al., 1985
Billock, W. L. and Dunbar, S. G. 2008. Influence of motivation on behavior in the hermit crab, Pagurus samuelis. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the U. K., Published online by Cambridge University Press 19 Sep 2008 doi:10.1017/S0025315408002543: 1 – 5
Shives, J. and Dunbar, S. G. 2010. Behavioral response to burial in the hermit crab, Pagurus samuelis: implications for the fossil record. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 388: 33- 38
P. samuelis is often more willing than other hermit crab species to stick its legs out of the shell and try to escape.
Photo by Dave Cowles, April 1993. Dana Point, CA