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

Orthopagurus minimus (Holmes, 1900)
Toothshell 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 #2100)

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

Species Information

Shield slightly longer than wide and with a distinct rostrum. Eyestalk long and stout with slightly dilated cornea. Right cheliped subequal in length to walking legs and sparsely setose; merus with few, if any, spines but 2 teeth on distal margin; carpus subequal in width to merus, with a row of spines and scattered spiny granules dorsally; hand wider than carpus proximally and increasing in width distally, with spines dorsally on palm and both fingers, which are wide and flattened dorsally and margined with a tight row of sharp pointed curved teeth and cutting edges with strong calcareous teeth. Left cheliped small, slender and setose with few spines or granules; hand convex without serrate margins. Walking legs lender, setose with propodus and dactyl subequal in length and width; dactyl with strong spines ventrally and a sharp, curved claw. Abdomen straight with calcified plates dorsally; pleopods only on left side and symmetrical uropods and telson.


Shield length: male 5.6 mm.


Carapace with shield reddish orange; rostrum pink, lateral areas dark red and wine-red. Abdomen straw-coloured with red spots dorsally; light red laterally. Tail fan red. Right cheliped with dark red ischium; merus and carpus straw-coloured with dark red spines and teeth. Hand wine-red with yellowish finger tips and white cutting teeth. Left cheliped straw-coloured with fine red spots. 1st and 2nd walking legs with red ischium; rest straw-coloured with a few red dots. 3rd and 4th walking legs red. Eyestalk wine-red straw-coloured with irregular opaque white bands; cornea semicircular with curved bands of pale yellow and black. Antennule red and straw-coloured with opaque white bands. Antenna with red and white base; the rest straw-coloured. Small individuals often straw-coloured with little or no red.


Usually inhabit Dentalium shells which they actively drag over the substrate of broken shell and gravel.



Tartar Strait, East Sakhalin (northwest Pacific), and British Columbia to San Diego; from 11 to 64 m.
Distribution In British Columbia

Widespread but rarely collected.

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: 2023-10-02 6:16:32 PM]
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© E-Fauna BC 2021: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC