Eriphia verrucosa (Forskål, 1775)

Koh, S. K. & Ng, Peter K. L., 2008, A Revision Of The Shore Crabs Of The Genus Eriphia (Crustacea: Brachyura: Eriphiidae), Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 56 (2), pp. 327-355 : 328-330

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Eriphia verrucosa (Forskål, 1775)


Eriphia verrucosa (Forskål, 1775) View in CoL

( Figs. 1 View Fig , 3A–C View Fig )

Cancer verrucosus Forskål, 1775: 93 ; De Haan, 1833: Table B.

Cancer spinifrons Herbst, 1785 : Pl. 185 Fig. 65.

Eriphia spinifrons View in CoL – H. Milne Edwards, 1834: 426; Stimpson, 1858: 37; Herklots, 1861: 125; A. Milne-Edwards, 1875: 69; Miers, 1886: 162; Ortmann, 1893: 479; Stimpson, 1907: 72; Bouvier, 1911: 226; Monod, 1932: 217.

Eriphia verrucosa View in CoL – Chapman & Santler, 1955: 374; Figueira, 1960: 9; Forest & Gantès, 1960: 352; Holthuis, 1961: 54; Holthuis, 1962: 236; Zariquiey Alvarez, 1968: 393, Figs. 1i View Fig , 135b; Kocatas, 1971: Pl. 4 Fig. 2 View Fig ; Pretzmann, 1971: 477; Türkay, 1976: 61, 67; Manning & Holthuis, 1981: 124; Manning & Stevcic ˇ ˇ ˇ, 1982: 299; Schembri & Lanfranco, 1984: 29; Lewinsohn & Holthuis, 1986: 44; Grippa, 1991: 355; Holthuis, 1987: 367; Falciai & Minervini, 1992: 223; D’Udekem d’Acoz, 1992: 26; Stevcicˇ ˇ ˇ & Galil, 1994: 67; González Pérez, 1995: 201; Zavodnik & Simunovic, 1997: 131; Sakai, 1999: 31, Pl. 16E; d’Udekem d’Acoz, 1999: 236; Ng et al., 2008: 83.

Material examined. – TURKEY: 1 dried male (49.5 × 69.5 mm) ( ZMB 2084) (lectotype of Cancer spinifrons Herbst, 1785 ), 1 dried male (52.0 × 74.5 mm) ( ZMB 441) (paralectotype of Cancer spinifrons Herbst, 1785 ), Sea of Marmara, Istanbul. Others: TUNISIA: 1 male (32.5 × 44.2 mm), 1 female (18.1 × 27.1 mm) ( NHM 1974.504), El Haauciria, shore collection, Project Mermaid, coll. P. Clark, 31 Aug.1974. SPAIN: 1 male (20.9 × 29.9 mm), 1 female (35.0 × 50.3 mm) ( RMNH 11511), Havenvan, Barcelona, ca. 0.1 m depth, coll. Kademuur, 19–22 Sep.1957. FRANCE: 2 males (21.9 × 30.8 mm, 21.6 × 30.6 mm), 2 females (24.1 × 36.0 mm, 21.7 × 30.1 mm) ( RMNH 21039), Biarritz, plage du Port–Vieux, coll. I. W. Frankryc, 11 Apr.1960. AZORES: 1 male (29.9 × 42.9 mm), 1 female (24.9 × 35.6 mm), 1 juvenile (11.2 × 15.9 mm) ( RMNH 36328), north coast S. Torge, Fajada, Caldeira, 38°38'N 27°56'W, Cobble Beach and lagoon, coll. Tydeman Azores Expedition 1981, Cancap V, 13 Jun.1981. ITALY: 1 male (50.6 × 60.4 mm), 1 ovigerous female (41.1 × 58.8 mm) ( USNM 152249), Mediterranean Sea, Sierly, Syracuse, fish market, coll. Luicotta, 22 Jun.1974; 1 female ( ZMUC), Messina, coll. 1993; 1 male, 1 female ( ZMUC), Cadiz Sea, coll. Thor, 22 Jun.1910. CROATIA: 1 female ( ZMUC), saline bay, Rovinj, coll. 11 Jun.1986. ISRAEL: 1 male (35.1 × 50.8 mm), 1 female (41.6 × 57.6 mm) ( ZRC 2000.2203), Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv, coll. Oct.1971 (male), 1960 (female).

Type locality. – Istanbul, Turkey .

Diagnosis. – Carapace transversely hexagonal; tubercles arranged in twos or threes, pubescent anteriorly. Distinct cervical groove reaching to third anterolateral spine. Front with five to seven denticles on each side of median notch. Orbits denticulated, with two curved external and one internal orbital spines. Anterolateral margins with five or six acute pigmented spines. Pterygostomial region minutely tuberculated anteriorly, pubescent posteriorly. Chelipeds tuberculated, pubescent, tubercles pigmented. Anterior male thoracic sternum with row of setae on anteriormost surface, tuberculated anteriorly. G1 curved terminally, with some spinules at extreme inner terminal end and laterally, medially pubescent along inner edge.

Description. – Carapace transversely hexagonal, dorsal surface relatively flattened, tubercles arranged in twos or threes, pubescent anteriorly. Regions well defined. Frontal region with row of tubercles; pubescent immediately behind it. Gastric region well defined; slightly inflated. Protogastric region weakly separated from gastric region by row of tubercles; surface pubescent. Hepatic region well defined; with acute tubercles anteriorly; distinct cervical groove reaching to third anterolateral spine. Branchial region with some tubercles anteriorly.

Front with deep U-shaped notch; each side with five to seven denticles. Orbit rounded, deep, entire margin denticulated, with two curved external and one internal orbital spines; supraorbital margin with two longitudinal fissures, infraorbital margin with two obscure longitudinal fissures. Anterolateral margin convex, with five or six acute pigmented spines, first three spines may have accessory denticles. Posterolateral margin sharply convergent, smooth; longer than anterolateral margin. Posterior carapace margin slightly concave medially, ridged margin minutely denticulated. Second antennular segment folding transversely. Antennae short, not reaching orbital margin; positioned at external edge of frontal margin. Third maxilliped surface generally smooth, pubescent; merus irregularly pentagonal; entire along outer margin, surface tuberculated. Pterygostomial region minutely tuberculated anteriorly, pubescent posteriorly. Suborbital region denticulated.

Chelipeds asymmetrical, outer surfaces tuberculated, pubescent; tubercles with pigmented tips. Denticles present on ventral margin of basis-ischium and merus. Merus relatively smooth, pubescent anteriorly. Carpus with a prominent acute spine on distal inner margin, another spine present ventrally. Chela relatively long, tuberculated, tubercles in numerous longitudinal rows, may extend to proximal part of dactylus. Tuberculation and pubescence on major chela less extensive; surfaces may appear reticulated. Cutting edge of minor chela minutely denticulated while that of major chela has basal molariform tooth on basal part of propodus and dactylus.

Ambulatory legs relatively long, subcylindrical; surfaces smooth, both anterior and posterior margins almost always with long and short setae.

Anterior male thoracic sternum slightly pubescent anteriorly; row of setae present on anteriormost region; tuberculated anteriorly. G1 relatively short, stout, bent one-third from tip; tapered, curved terminally; with some spinules at extreme inner terminal end and laterally; pubescent on median part of inner edge; sparse pubescence on basal outer edge. G2 longer than G1.

Remarks. – Holthuis (1962) discussed the problems associated with the type species of Eriphia Latreille, 1817 . Cancer spinifrons Herbst, 1785 , is often regarded as the type species of the genus, but it is actually a subjective junior synonym of Cancer verrucosa Forskål, 1775 . Since the species is of no economic importance, he requested the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature to place the name Cancer verrucosa Forskål, 1775 , instead of Cancer spinifrons Herbst, 1785 , on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology (ICZN, 1987). Thus, Cancer verrucosa Forskål, 1775 , is now the type species of Eriphia Latreille, 1817 . Sakai (1999) recorded two syntypes of Cancer spinifrons Herbst, 1785 , in the Berlin Museum, and the one figured by him is here designated as the lectotype of the species. Forskål’s (1775) specimen(s) of Cancer verrucosa are no longer extant, but the species is so well known that there is no real need to select a neotype for the moment.

Stevcic & Galil (1994) compiled a checklist on the Mediterranean decapods in which they divided the Mediterranean ˇ ˇ ˇ into several subregions: western, central and eastern, including Adriatic and Black Sea. They noted that E. verrucosa was reported from all the subregions, even penetrating into the Black Sea where conditions are generally very unfavourable for crabs. The species, according to Lewinsohn & Holthuis (1986: 45) is a “... a frequent littoral species throughout Mediterranean, with numerous records in eastern basin”. Also, Holthuis (1961) noted that the crabs are used for food and is sold on markets in Istanbul, Antalya and Samsun. It is only occasionally eaten in the Adriatic (C. Froglia, pers. comm.).

In all the specimens examined, the frontal margin is strongly denticulated with randomly arranged tubercles. Both chelae are tuberculated to varying degrees with the minor one highly tuberculated on both anterior and posterior edges while only the anterior half of the major chela is tuberculated, with the tubercles arranged in such a way to give the surface a superficially reticulated pattern. These tubercles are pigmented, with the anterior half dark. As the carapace size increases, the first few anterolateral spines become more denticulated and the infraorbital margin changes from slightly denticulate to highly spinate.

Specimens from Caldeira, however, appear slightly smoother than the rest. The carapace and both chelae of the male specimen examined are less tuberculated and pubescent. This is especially so on the major chela where only the proximal portion of the palm is tuberculated with the rest smooth. The juvenile specimen is relatively smooth, with its major palm entirely devoid of tubercles. For the moment, there is no reason to believe these differences are significant or to suspect these specimens are not E. verrucosa sensu stricto.

Distribution. – Throughout Mediterranean Sea, extending to Adriatic and Black Sea (Stevcic ˇ ˇ ˇ & Galil, 1994).


Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Zoological Collections)


University of Nottingham


National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen


Zoological Reference Collection, National University of Singapore














Eriphia verrucosa (Forskål, 1775)

Koh, S. K. & Ng, Peter K. L. 2008

Eriphia verrucosa

Ng, P 2008: 83
Sakai, K 1999: 31
d'Udekem D'Acoz, C 1999: 236
Galil, B 1994: 67
d'Udekem D'Acoz, C 1992: 26
Grippa, G 1991: 355
Holthuis, L 1987: 367
Turkay, M 1976: 61
Pretzmann, V. G 1971: 477
Zariquiey Alvarez, R 1968: 393
Holthuis, L 1962: 236
Holthuis, L 1961: 54

Eriphia spinifrons

Monod, Th 1932: 217
Bouvier, E 1911: 226
Stimpson, W 1907: 72
Ortmann, A 1893: 479
Miers, E 1886: 162
Milne-Edwards, A 1875: 69
Herklots, J 1861: 125
Stimpson, W 1858: 37
Milne Edwards, H 1834: 426
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