07 June 2011

Tuesday Crustie: Jonah

ResearchBlogging.orgAs I’m in Hawaii today to attend The Crustacean Society meeting, it seems only fitting to feature a species that is, while not new to science, new to Hawaii. This is Albunea bulla, a sand crab. Regular readers might recognize sand crabs as a group close to my heart, because they were the subject of my doctoral research.

But when you read the text of the paper, you could be forgiven for missing the cool story of how the sample that proved this species was found in Hawaiian waters:

Material examined. U.S.A., Hawaii: 200 fathoms (365.8 m), ex opakapaka a.k.a. crimson jobfish (Pristipomoides filamentosus (Valenciennes)) Little Brooks Bank (ca. 24°–24°15’N, 166°45’–167°W), northwestern Hawaiian Islands, coll. Capt. W. Strickland on F/V Fortuna, 11 Apr 2005: 1 male, 17.5 mm cl
(BPBM S12265).

You might suspect something was up when you hit this understated little phrase:

The condition of the present specimen is remarkably good, considering the source(.)

Finally, it sinks in:

(T)he fact that the fish species from which the Hawaiian specimen of A. bulla was removed has been found generally from 90–360 m depth (Allen 1985) suggests that perhaps the crab was eaten at shallower depths and transported intus piscis to the depth at which the fish was caught.

That’s right, they pulled the crab out of the stomach of the fish that ate it!

And, by the way, this proves that anything can sound classy in Latin. Compare:

  • intus piscis” — Ooooh, sounds elegant!
  • “fish guts” — Eeeew, that’s disgusting!

I think in one of my papers, I suggested that one of the big advantages of being a digging species is being hidden from predators.

Apparently, that advantage isn’t as big as I thought.


Boyko CB. 2010. New records and taxonomic data for 14 species of sand crabs (Crustacea: Anomura: Albuneidae) from localities worldwide. Zootaxa 2555: 49-61

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