Description: As with all members of Family Pinnotheridae, this crab is small, has no rostrum, and has an oval, circular, or sqared-off carapace which has no teeth either between the eyes or along the anterolateral margin plus lives symbiotically. This species has a very wide carapace, 2x (males, 10 mm max width) to 2.5x as wide as long (females, 18 mm max width). The third pair of walking legs is longest. The propodus of legs 3-5, especially of leg 3, are longer and much wider than the dactyl. Walking leg 4 has no long setal fringe and the posteroventral margin of the ischium of walking leg 4 has no tubercles. The telson is wider than long and distally curved. Color a pattern of light and dark brown, gray, and some white. Chelipeds are white with patches of brown, red, or orange with white tips. Walking legs are white with dark brown streaks and blotches. Cornea red with gold flecks.
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Of pinnotherid species with carapaces more than 1.5x as wide as long, this species differs from P. faba and P. littoralis because those species have curved dactyls. It differs from P. eburna, P. occidentalis, and P. schmitti because those species do not have a propodus of legs 3-5 clearly longer (and wider) than their dactyl. It differs from P. longipes (which occurs in California) because P. longipes has a long setal fringe on walking leg 4 and tubercles on the posteroventral margin of the ischium of walking leg 4.
Geographical Range: Prince Rupert, BC (or southern Alaska) to Mexico
Depth Range: Intertidal to 57 m
Habitat: Tubes of tubeworms such as Chaetopteris and Terebellids; tubes of Neotrypaea californiensis.
in polychaete worm tubes such as Chaetopterus
Several other very similar pea crab species do as well, such as
Frequently in pairs in the worm tube. Ricketts
et al. (1985) state that only males of this species have been
ranging outside of the tubeworm burrow, and that rarely. This
is widespread but is often overlooked.
Flora and Fairbanks, 1966
Kozloff, 1987, 1996
General Notes and
abundances, unusual behaviors:
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Dave Cowles (2012): Created original page
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Salish Sea Invertebrates web site provided courtesy of Walla Walla University