Parapagurus bouvieri Stebbing, 1910

Landschoff, Jannes & Lemaitre, Rafael, 2017, Differentiation of three common deep-water hermit crabs (Crustacea, Decapoda, Anomura, Parapaguridae) from the South African demersal abundance surveys, including the description of a new species of Paragiopagurus Lemaitre, 1996, ZooKeys 676, pp. 21-45 : 31-32

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Parapagurus bouvieri Stebbing, 1910


Parapagurus bouvieri Stebbing, 1910 Figs 7C, D, 8

Parapagurus bouvieri Stebbing, 1910: 357, pl. 17 ( Crustacea pl. 43) (type locality: South Africa, SS "Pieter Faure", sta 153, Buffalo River, NW 1/2W, 19 miles, 549 m)

Material examined.

South Africa, West Coast. WCDSS2012, AFR279: 2 females 8.6, 11.0 mm, sta A32144-4116, S32°18.26', E16°18.529', 369 m, 11 Jan 2012 (SAMC MB-A066800); 3 males 10.4-13.1 mm, sta A32147-5079, S32°01.87', E16°17.43', 458 m, 11 Jan 2012 (SAMC MB-A066799). WCDSS2015, AND004: 8 males 7.5-14.3 mm, 3 ovig. females 9.2-11.8 mm, 1 female 8.9 mm, sta C0372-5140, S35°41.28', E19°09.82', 551 m, 11 Feb 2015 (SAMC MB-A066793); 1 female 9.4 mm, sta C0407-5104, S33°01.92', E17°01.98', 436 m, 21 Feb 2015 (SAMC MB-A066795); 2 males 6.1-12.5 mm, sta C0420-5078, S31°59.88', E16°17.64', 812 m, 27 Feb 2015 (SAMC MB-A066796). WCDSS2016, CCH008: 1 ovig. female 10.0 mm (SAMC MB-A066429), 1 male 14.0 mm (SAMC MB-A066430), 1 ovig. female 9.3 mm (SAMC MB-A066431), 1 male 12.2 mm (SAMC MB-A066432), 1 ovig. female 10.0 mm (SAMC MB-A066433), sta D00716, S30°46.14', E15°28.44', 387 m, 9 Mar 2016.

South Africa, South Coast.SCDSA 2015, AND005: 1 male 11.8, sta D00570-6628, S34°40.95', E25°09.15', 556 m, 3 May 2015 (SAMC MB-A066797); 2 males 10.0-12.7 mm, sta D00573-6592, S34°58.42', E24°18.37', 758 m, 4 May 2015 (SAMC MB-A066798). SCDSS2016, AFR289: 2 males 7.4-10.6 mm, sta A32823-96971, S35°14.95', E22°50.80', 511 m, 5 Oct 2016 (SAMC MB-A066794).

South Africa, East Coast. African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme (no cruise name): 4 males 7.9-12.2 mm, sta ACEP 3-6, S29°29.10', E31°54.36', 563-569 m, 20 Mar 2010 (ZRC 2013.0548).

Diagnosis, taxonomy.

See Lemaitre (1990; 1999; 2000), and Poore (2004).

Colour (in life; Fig. 7C, D). Until now, colour information on this species has been based only on Barnard’s (1950: 451, as Parapagurus pilosimanus ) description of specimens from South Africa, and a photograph by Poore (2004, pl. 17b) only partially showing the body of a live specimen in a zoanthid carcinoecia. Herein, we describe in detail for the first time the colouration of this species, and present colour photographs of the entire body of a fresh specimen removed from it’s housing and with it’s anthozoan housing (Fig. 7C, D). Shield light orange with small white patches on posterior half, and white near anterior margin. Ocular peduncles white dorsally, turning light orange on lateral faces; corneas black to dark brown. Antennules white with light orange flagella. Antennal penduncles white except for orange lateral faces of second segments, and orange acicles; flagellum light orange except for white basal portion. Colour of chelipeds hidden by dense light brown setation, surfaces white except for some orange tint distally on fingers. Ambulatory legs white with broad orange stripe on lateral faces of meri, carpi, and propodi; dactyls orange distally and with narrow orange stripe on lateral face; weakly calcified region on lateral face of meri brownish.

General distribution.

Southeastern Atlantic, from Angola to South Africa, and southwestern Indian Ocean to KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa); western Pacific, from off the southern and southeastern coast of Australia, from the South Australian Bight and Queensland ( Lemaitre 1999; Poore 2004). Depth: 247-990 m.

South African distribution

(Fig. 8). Highly abundant on the west coast, common on the shelf of the Agulhas Bank on the south coast, and extending to the east coast off KwaZulu-Natal; depth range of material in this study from 369-812 m.

Common name.

"Hairy-clawed hermit crab".


With extremely rare exceptions, exclusively found living in carcinoecia formed by zoanthids, probably Epizoanthus species.

Genetic data.

Sta ACEP 3-6, S29°29.10', E31°54.36', 563-569 m, male 12.2 mm, BOLD: SEAKY1174-17 (ZCR 2013.0548-2). Sta D00716, S30°46.14', E15°28.44', 387 m, male 12.2 mm, BOLD: SEAKY1169-17 (MB-A066432); ovig. female 10.0 mm, BOLD: SEAKY1167-17 (MB-A066429); ovig. female 9.3 mm, BOLD: SEAKY1168-17 (MB-A066431).


As pointed out by Lemaitre (1990; 1999; 2000), this species is unique among species of Parapagurus in several characters. In P. bouvieri the corneas are weakly dilated, and the overall length of the ocular peduncles are atypically long, being distinctly more than half the length of the shield, whereas in other species of the genus the corneas are reduced, not wider than the distal width of the ocular peduncles, and the ocular peduncles are short, less than half the length of the shield. The most striking and distinctive character of this species is the presence of a weakly-calcified area on the lateral and mesial faces of the propodi of the ambulatory legs. In live specimens this area is brownish in colour (Fig. 7C), and that tone is similarly retained even in specimens that have been preserved for a long time.