Parasitic crabs

Stephan Hourdez smh267 at
Mon Feb 11 15:27:30 EST 2002

Dear all,

This a response to Jack Pearce, wondering if the vent mussels contained 
any parasitic crabs. I have literally opened hundreds of mussels coming 
from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (800-3600 m), the East-Pacific Rise (2500 m) 
and the Louisiana Slope in the Gulf of Mexico (550 m). I never found any 
parasitic crabs, only commensal polynoidae (infestation rates vary), which 
I was looking for. 
Cheers,         Stephane Hourdez  

Dr. Stéphane Hourdez
PennState University
Department of biology
208 Mueller Lab
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 1-814-863-8360
Fax: 1-814-865-9131
Mail: hourdez at


I hope that this message can get forwarded to Jim. I am interested in
whether anyone has ever found parasitic crabs of the family Pinnotheridae
("pea crabs") in the mussels from the deep- water vents. My close friend
Howard Sanders never saw any; but, his work was done decades ago.

I have found the west coast mussel crab, Fabia subquadrata, im Modiolus
from 200+ m in San Juan Channel in Georgian Bay and Pinnotheres
maculatus with both Mytilus and Modiolus in 130 m in the Gulf of Maine
Iintestingly this sp. nevers goes beyond Cape Cod in the intertidal and
subtidal waters of the GOM.

So, have any of these most unusual Brachyura ever made it to the sulphide
worlds of the vents?!?

Cheers, Jack Pearce, North American Editor, Marine Pollution Bulletin
             Buzzards Bay Lab, 54 Upland, Falmouth MA   02540   USA

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