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Overview

Brief Summary

Ecology

This species lives commensaly in the mantle cavity of various bivalvia and tunicates.
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© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

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The pea crab lives between the shells of other molluscs. The only thing it wants is protection; pea crabs don't harm their host. Females spend their entire life in these shells; you sometimes find males outside the protective host. The females are so transparent that you can easily distinguish their yellow and red innards. Pea crabs are tiny. Females grow up to a maximum of 13 millimeters in length and the males only 6 millimeters.
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The pea crab is different from other crabs in that it lives inside the shell of live molluscs or other shellfish. The crab does not harm its host; it simply uses its strong shell for protection and eats whatever its host forgets to consume. Females are translucent revealing yellow and red organs. They stay in the same host shell their entire life. The males move from host to host. They are good swimmers, sometimes shooting through the water at night. The carapace of the pea crab is not as hard as other crab species. However should you feel something hard between your teeth when eating a mossel, it doesn't have to be a grain of sand.... Connoisseurs claim that mussels containing these small crabs are tastier than those without!
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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 66 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 29 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 64
  Temperature range (°C): 8.890 - 10.596
  Nitrate (umol/L): 2.877 - 12.040
  Salinity (PPS): 32.851 - 34.787
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.153 - 6.605
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.380 - 0.653
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.143 - 7.673

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 64

Temperature range (°C): 8.890 - 10.596

Nitrate (umol/L): 2.877 - 12.040

Salinity (PPS): 32.851 - 34.787

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.153 - 6.605

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.380 - 0.653

Silicate (umol/l): 2.143 - 7.673
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
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Depth range based on 66 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 29 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 64
  Temperature range (°C): 8.890 - 10.596
  Nitrate (umol/L): 2.877 - 12.040
  Salinity (PPS): 32.851 - 34.787
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.153 - 6.605
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.380 - 0.653
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.143 - 7.673

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 64

Temperature range (°C): 8.890 - 10.596

Nitrate (umol/L): 2.877 - 12.040

Salinity (PPS): 32.851 - 34.787

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.153 - 6.605

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.380 - 0.653

Silicate (umol/l): 2.143 - 7.673
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / parasite
Pinnotheres pisum parasitises Mytilus

Animal / parasite / endoparasite
Pinnotherion vermiforme endoparasitises visceral cavity of Pinnotheres pisum

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Pinnotheres pisum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pinnotheres pisum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Pea crab

The pea crab, Pinnotheres pisum, is a small crab in the family Pinnotheridae that lives as a parasite in oysters, clams, mussels, and other species of bivalves.[2]

Description[edit]

Pea crabs are small crustaceans about the size of a pea or dime, with a "smooth dorsal surface of the carapace, or upper exoskeleton". [3] The exoskeleton of males is hard and circular and has eyes and antennae extending from their fronts, and the chelipeds are more robust in males than in females, which have more elongated chelipeds.[3] The bodies of the female pea crabs are often translucent and show the inner organs and gonads as yellow and red, with the males being a "more yellowish-grey with patches of brown".[3]

Ecology[edit]

A pea crab (yellow in color) has fallen out of the clam that this sea otter is eating, and has landed on the sea otter's neck (in Moss Landing, California)

The relationship between the pea crab and its host is one of parasitism, rather than commensalism, since the host may be harmed by the crab's feeding activities.[4] The pea crab solely relies on its host for food, safety, and oxygen.[5]

Pea crabs have a variety of hosts, the most important of which are mollusks. The pea crab lives in the mantle cavity of these hosts.[3][4] Other hosts, in addition to oysters, include sea urchins and sand dollars.[4] Pinnotheres can be found inside sand dollars, in the rectum of sea cucumbers,[4] in the tubes of parchment worms, in the burrows of mud shrimp, or in the gills of sea squirts.[5]

Little is known about the pea crab's feeding habits,[5] but in the related oyster crab (Zaops ostreus), larval stages feed on plankton brought in by the oyster, while adults feed by taking the food that is a part of the oyster's diet, as well as what is not.[6] The feeding process can be harmful to the crab's host when it feeds on the mucous strings that help carry the food to the host's mouth.[5]

Etymology[edit]

Pinnotheres is Greek for "guard of Pinna" and pisum is Latin for a pea, in reference to the shape of the crab.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles Fransen & Michael Türkay. "Pinnotheres pisum (Linnaeus, 1767)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved February 9, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Pea crab". Answers.com. Retrieved February 9, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Ray W. Ingle (1997). Crayfishes, Lobsters, and Crabs of Europe: An Illustrated Guide to Common and Traded Species. London: Chapman & Hall. ISBN 978-0-412-71060-5. 
  4. ^ a b c d Eugene H. Kaplan. A Field Guide to Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores: Cape Hatteras to the Gulf Coast, Florida, and the Caribbean. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-46811-6. 
  5. ^ a b c d N. J. Berrill & Jacquelyn Berrill (1957). 1001 Questions Answered About the Seashore. New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-23366-9. 
  6. ^ T. Cheng (1973). General Parasitology. New York and London: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-170750-4. 
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