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

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


© Aaron Baldwin     (Photo ID #2237)


E-Fauna BC Static Map

Distribution of Elassochirus cavimanus in British Columbia in British Columbia

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.

General References