E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Elassochirus cavimanus (Miers, 1879)
Purple Hermit Crab
Family: Paguridae

Species account author: Josephine Hart.
Extracted from Crabs and their relatives of British Columbia.
Photo of species

© Aaron Baldwin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2237)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Elassochirus cavimanus in British Columbia
Details about map content are available here.

Species Information

Carapace: surface smooth, shield subequal in length and width. Eyestalk stout; cornea slightly inflated. Right cheliped subequal in length to walking legs and most surfaces smooth; merus short, triangular, with a few sharp granules near distal denticulate margin; carpus convex medially and produced laterally into flat “wings” on either side, inner and distal margins denticulate and a scattered row of small spines mid-dorsally; hand subrectangular with wide fingers; left hand oval with wide fixed finger. Walking legs compressed and slightly setose.


Shield length: male 21.1 mm.


Carapace orange or scarlet. Right cheliped: merus and carpus violet with orange margins; hand pale orange or flesh coloured and violet; teeth white. Left cheliped similar except more violet on hand. Walking legs deep red or orange with distinct white polka dots, claw brown. Eyestalk orange; cornea black with yellow rings. Antennal flagellum translucent with a tinge of orange.


Mud or sandy bottom.



Japan and northwestern Pacific from the Bering Seas to Departure Bay, British Columbia, and Cobb Seamount (46°44’N, 130°47’W), off Washington; from 36 to 252 m.
Distribution In British Columbia

Only a few scattered records, mostly in the north.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-05-18 7:13:41 PM]
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© E-Fauna BC 2021: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC