Thursday, August 13, 2015

A new crab: Petrolisthes elegantissimus

Porcelain Crabs (family Porcellanidae) are common throughout the tropical oceans of the world.They have a flat, round body with two large front claws. These crabs have a pair of front arms called maxillipeds, which have ends that are feather-like in appearance. They use these appendages to filter the water for any passing planktonic food. Porcelain Crabs often live in pairs and in the wild they are typically found within or under rocks. 

With over 100 species the genus Petrolisthes is the most species-rich in the family and new research from Germany just added another species from Indonesia to the list. The name of the new species Petrolisthes elegantissimus is derived from the Latin word 'elegans' (tasteful, refined), referring to a more elegant and gracile general shape compared with that of closely related species. 

For the experts: The porcellanid crab Petrolisthes hastatus Stimpson, 1858, has been traditionally viewed as a highly variable species with a wide distribution in the West Pacific. For more than a century there has been taxonomic confusion of this species with morphologically similar taxa, some of which were synonymized with Stimpson’s taxon. We redefine P. hastatus, resurrect P. inermis as a valid species, discuss the status of P. tenkatei De Man, 1893, and describe a new species as P. elegantissimus from Indonesia.

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