Pagurus longicarpus- Hermit crab megalopa

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHermit Crab megalopa (Pagurus longicarpus)

Location: 1 km off of the beach at Assateague, VA near the bottom in 10 m depths (epibenthic sled), June 2008

Notes: After a series of zoeal stages, the larvae transform into a megalopa larva. This intermediate stage between the zoea and the juvenile crab has claws and long legs.

This larval hermit crab is a megalopa stage of Pagurus longicarpus. Judging from its appearance, you might not expect this larva to be a good swimmer, but the megalopae  swim actively as they search for a snail shell enter.  Finding a suitable snail shell to enter is critical at this time and failure to locate a suitable shell can result in delayed metamorphosis as the search continues. Swimming activity gradually declines over a few days.

These larvae are common throughout the summer at this Assateague location.A number were caught in the sled of of Assateague 4-20 cm above the bottom

 

 

Collected by Bill Johnson , Goucher College.