Overview

Comprehensive Description

Libinia dubia belongs to a group of brachyuran crabs commonly referred to as decorator crabs. Using hooked, Velcro-like setae on the surface of the carapace, the crabs attach bits of algae and invertebrates for camouflage. This behavior is most common in juveniles, and the shells of adult crabs are usually found clean. Under the decorative covering, the carapace of L. dubia is rounded, bearing approximately six spines down either side and along the median line on the dorsal surface (eg. Corrington 1927). A forked rostrum extends between the eyes, and the overall color of the body is yellowish to brown (Voss 1980). Long, thin walking legs originating from the rounded body give the crab the spidery appearance for which it is named. These legs culminate in curved points, allowing the crab to cling to various surfaces like rocks and jellyfishes (Ruppert & Fox 1988).
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Distribution

Virginian, south side of Cape Cod, extending northward of the subprovince limit, including Cobscook Bay.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

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The longnose spider crab is found in a variety of coastal and estuarine habitats to approximately 50 m depth (Williams 1984). The native range of L. dubia extends from Cape Cod to southern Texas, Bahamas and Cuba. However, in the past decade the species has been reported in the Mediterranean Sea off the Tunisian coast (Enzenross & Enzenross 2000), although the exact date and vector of introduction is unknown. In Florida, L. dubia has been documented as a common inhabitant of Florida Bay (Tabb & Manning 1961), and the most prevalent spider crab in Tampa Bay (Dragovich & Kelly 1964). Both adult and juvenile L. dubia are found throughout the Indian River Lagoon. Juveniles are common in seagrass beds, and adults may inhabit more open sandy-bottom areas. Juvenile crabs can also be found attached to the cannonball jelly, Stomolophus meleagris, which occurs seasonally along the coast and throughout the India River Lagoon (Tunberg & Reed 2004).
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Physical Description

Size

Information on the lifespan and adult growth patterns of L. dubia is lacking. However, the average carapace diameter for mature crabs is 6 to 10 cm (Corrington 1927, Ruppert & Fox 1988), with the length of walking legs adding considerably to the total body size. As with most species, growth rates are likely dependent on food availability, environmental conditions and other factors.
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Look Alikes

Three species of Libinia inhabit the coastal and estuarine waters of the Western Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans: L. dubia; the portly spider crab, L. emarginata; and the seagrass spider crab, L. erinacea. The color and shape of all species are similar, and discrimination between juvenile specimens can be difficult. However, Libinia dubia and L. emarginata are distinguished by the number of dorsal median spines, bearing six and nine, respectively (Abele & Kim 1986). The maximum size of the portly spider crab is also slightly larger than that of L. dubia (Ruppert & Fox 1988). The rostrum of young seagrass spider crabs forks more deeply than L. dubia, and the horns curve toward one another (Abele & Kim 1986). II . HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 741 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 190 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 137
  Temperature range (°C): 8.918 - 25.874
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.289 - 4.657
  Salinity (PPS): 32.282 - 36.176
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.671 - 6.764
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.100 - 0.661
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 4.515

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 137

Temperature range (°C): 8.918 - 25.874

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.289 - 4.657

Salinity (PPS): 32.282 - 36.176

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.671 - 6.764

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.100 - 0.661

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 4.515
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Trophic Strategy

Corrington (1927) defined L. dubia as a scavenger, feeding on easily procured plant and animal tissue and detritus. In seagrass beds, the spider crab consumes macroalgae as a portion of its diet, including Gracilaria tikvahiae and other algae of the genera Ulva, Hypnea, Chondria and Padina (Stachowicz & Hay 1999). When in association with various species of medusae, L. dubia has been found to feed on the mesoglea, the transparent body tissue of the jelly (Jachowski 1963, Phillips et al. 1969, Tunberg & Reed 2004). Predators: As juveniles, spider crabs are commonly preyed upon by larger fishes including: adult pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides; juvenile gag grouper, Mycteroperca microlepis; and oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau (Stachowicz & Hay 1999). To avoid predation, L. dubia decorates its shell with unpalatable algal and invertebrate species, including the brown alga, Dictyota menstrualis (Stachowicz & Hay 1999), and the sun sponge, Hymeniacidon heliophila (Stachowicz & Hay 2000). As the crab grows larger than the mouth gape of its fish predators, its predation risk lowers and it ceases this decorative behavior (Stachowicz & Hay 1999). Parasites: Several marine species can become infected with parasites in the form of worms, copepods, barnacles and other organisms. One such relationship has been documented between L. dubia and the marine fungus, Lagenidium callinectes (Bland & Amerson 1974). The fungus infects eggs of L. dubia; the Atlantic mud crab, Panopeus herbstii; and the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus (Bland & Amerson 1974), as well as other commonly aquacultured species (eg. Ramasamy et al. 2006).
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Associations

Libinia dubia is a common seagrass inhabitant, and is found in association with other organisms occurring in this habitat. Although the longnose spider crab is primarily a benthic species, it has been associated with several pelagic organisms, including: the loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta (Frick et al. 2004); the cannonball jelly, Stomolophus meleagris (Corrington 1927, Phillips et al. 1969, Tunberg & Reed 2004); the sea nettle, Chrysaora quinquecirrha, the sea wasp, Chiropsalmus quadrumanus (Phillips et al. 1969); and the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita (Jachowski 1963). Locally, the most prevalent association is between L. dubia and S. meleagris. In 2004, a bloom of cannonball jellies was studied at and around the Fort Pierce Inlet in the southern half of the Indian River Lagoon (Tunberg & Reed 2004). Approximately 17% of the jellies sampled contained at least one L. dubia located under the bell. Most scientists believe that the crabs gain access to their hosts by attaching when the organisms drift toward the bottom, or by metamorphosing from larvae to juvenile directly on the host (eg. Corrington 1927). It is often difficult to determine the type of symbiotic relationship between species, but it is believed that the crab gains shelter and protection, transportation, and food from its hosts. In some instances, L. dubia has even been found to consume tissue from host jellies (Jachowski 1963, Phillips et al. 1969, Tunberg & Reed 2004).
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Known predators

Libinia dubia (Spider crabs) is prey of:
Larus argentatus
Larus delawarensis
Larus atricilla
Sterna forsteri
sediment POC
Callinectes sapidus

Based on studies in:
USA: Florida (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Christian RR, Luczkovich JJ (1999) Organizing and understanding a winter’s seagrass foodweb network through effective trophic levels. Ecol Model 117:99–124
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Known prey organisms

Libinia dubia (Spider crabs) preys on:
Halodule wrightii
Micro-epiphytes
algae

Based on studies in:
USA: Florida (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Christian RR, Luczkovich JJ (1999) Organizing and understanding a winter’s seagrass foodweb network through effective trophic levels. Ecol Model 117:99–124
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© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

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Population Biology

The longnose spider crab is a common inhabitant in seagrass beds and sandy areas, although the abundance of individuals is often quite low. Some seasonality occurs with the abundance of L. dubia in more temperate waters. In the northeast United States, both L. dubia and L. emarginata are found in greater numbers in fall and spring, becoming scarce in summer and rare in winter (O'Brien et al. 1999). Although little information has been collected on the spawning seasons of L. dubia, it is likely that food availability and/or water temperature plays a role in abundance of larvae and successful recruitment.
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Like other brachyuran crabs, sex can be determined in Libinia dubia by examining the abdomen. In females, it is broader and can be tightly flexed to hold the egg mass, or sponge (eg. Ruppert et al. 2004). On average, females are also slightly smaller than males (O'Brien et al. 1999, Tunberg & Reed 2004). As with most decapod crustaceans, fertilization occurs during copulation. The male transfers sperm-filled cases, called spermatophores, to the female. After the eggs are fertilized, the female broods them on her abdomen until hatching.
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Growth

Once hatched, the larvae pass through three planktonic stages, two zoeae and one megalopa, lasting approximately nine days (Sandifer & Van Engel 1971). The zoeal stages are characterized by a long dorsal spine and a short rostral spine between the large eyes. These stages measure 2 to 3 mm in total length. Megalopae have lost the dorsal spine, the rostral spine is shortened and the legs are more prominent, creating a total body length of about 2 mm. When a suitable habitat is selected, megalopae swim to the benthos and metamorphose into juvenile crabs.
  • Abele, LG & W Kim. 1986. An illustrated guide to the marine decapod crustaceans of Florida, Part 2. Florida State Univ. Tallahassee, FL, USA. 760 pp.
  • Ruppert, EE, Fox, RS & RD Barnes. 2004. Invertebrate zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Brooks/Cole. Belmont, CA, USA. 963 pp.
  • Bland, CE & HV Amerson. 1974. Occurrence and distribution in North Carolina waters of Lagenidium callinectes Couch, a fungal parasite of blue crab ova. Chesapeake Sci. 15: 232-235.
  • Corrington, JD. 1927. Commensal association of a spider crab and a medusa. Biol. Bull. 53: 346-350.
  • Dragovich, AJ & JA Kelly, Jr. 1964. Ecological observations of macro-invertebrates in Tampa Bay, Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 14: 74-102.
  • Enzenross, R & L Enzenross. 2000. Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura). Crustaceana 73: 187-195.
  • Frick, MG, Williams, KL, Markesteyn, EJ, Pfaller, JB & RE Frick. 2004. New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles. Southeast. Nat. 3: 613-620.
  • Jachowski, R. 1963. Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia. Chesapeake Sci. 4: 195.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1995. Seasonal and spatial distribution of two species of spider crab in Great Bay, New Jersey. Am. Zool. 35: 67A.
  • O'Brien, SB, Landau, M & KW Able. 1999. Sex ratios of two species of spider crabs, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834 and L. emarginata Leach, 1815, in the area of Great Bay, New Jersey. Crustaceana 72: 187-192.
  • Phillips, PJ, Burke, WD & EJ Keener. 1969. Observations on the trophic significance of jellyfishes in Mississippi Sound with quantitative data on the associative behavior of small fishes and medusa. Am. Fish. Soc. 98: 703-712.
  • Ramasamy, P, Rajan, PR, Jayakumar, R, Rani, S & GP Brennan. 2006. Lagenidium callinectes (Couch, 1942) infection and its control in cultured larval Indian tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon Fabricius. J. Fish Diseases 19: 75-82.
  • Ruppert, EE & RS Fox. 1988. Seashore animals of the Southeast: A guide to common shallow-water invertebrates of the southeastern Atlantic coast. Univ. South Carolina Press. Columbia, SC, USA. 429 pp.
  • Sandifer, PA & WA Van Engel. 1971. Larval development of the spider crab, Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards (Brachyura, Majidae, Pisinae), reared in the laboratory. Chesapeake Sci. 12: 18-25.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced mobility is associated with compensatory feeding and increased diet breadth of marine crabs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 188: 169-178.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 1999. Reduced predation through chemically mediated camouflage: indirect effects of plant defenses on herbivores. Ecology 80: 495-509.
  • Stachowicz, JJ & M Hay. 2000. Geographic variation in camouflage specialization by a decorator crab. Am. Nat. 156: 59-71.
  • Tabb, DC & RB Manning. 1961. A checklist of the flora and fauna of northern Florida Bay and adjacent brackish waters of the Florida mainland collected during the period July, 1957 through September, 1960. Bull. Mar. Sci. 11: 552-649.
  • Tunberg, BG & SA Reed. 2004. Mass occurrence of the jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris and an associated spider crab Libinia dubia, eastern Florida. FL Scientist 67: 93-104.
  • Voss, GL. 1980. Seashore life of Florida and the Caribbean. Dover Publications. Mineola, NY, USA. 199 pp.
  • Williams, AB. 1984. Shrimps, lobsters, and crabs of the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States, Maine to Florida. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C., USA. 550 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Libinia dubia

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


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ATAGTAGGTACTTCACTG---AGATTGATTATTCGAGCTGAACTTGGTCAACCAGGAACACTTATTGGAAAT---GATCAAATCTATAACGTTGCCGTCACGGCCCACGCTTTCGTTATAATTTTTTTCATAGTTATACCTATTATAATTGGAGGATTTGGAAACTGACTTGTTCCTCTTATA---CTAGGAGCTCCCGATATAGCTTTTCCACGTATAAATAATATAAGATTTTGACTTTTACCCCCCTCATTAACATTACTTTTGATAAGGGGAATAGTTGAAAGGGGAGTTGGTACAGGATGAACTGTGTATCCTCCTTTGGCTGCTGCTATTGCTCACGCAGGAGCTTCCGTGGATATAGGA---ATTTTTTCACTTCATTTAGCTGGGGTATCTTCTATTTTAGGAGCTGTTAATTTTATAACAACCGTAATTAACATACGATCATACGGAATAACTATAGATCAAATACCTTTATTTGTGTGATCTGTATTTATTACCGCTATTTTATTGTTGCTTTCTTTGCCTGTTTTAGCTGGT---GCCATTACTATACTTCTCACTGATCGTAATCTTAATACATCTTTTTTTGATCCCGCTGGAGGAGGAGATCCTATTCTTTATCAACATTTATTTTGATTTTTTGGT
-- end --

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Libinia dubia

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Libinia dubia

Libinia dubia, the longnose spider crab, is a species of crab in the family Epialtidae. It is found in shallow waters on the eastern coast of North America.

Description[edit]

The carapace of the longnose spider crab is nearly circular in outline. The shell grows to an average diameter of 6 to 10 centimetres (2.4 to 3.9 in) with the males being larger than the females. There are about six spiny protuberances on each edge of the shell and another six down the midline. The upper surface is covered with short setae (bristles) which are hooked and resemble velcro. To these the crab sticks pieces of seaweed and other organisms as camouflage.[3] There are two small stalked eyes and between these the carapace extends forward in a forked rostrum. There are five pairs of long, thin, jointed walking legs. The front pair end in rather small pincers and the terminal joint of the others legs is a curved claw. The longnose spider crab may be confused with the portly spider crab, Libinia emarginata, but that species usually has nine spines on the margin at each side of the shell.[3]

Distribution[edit]

The longnose spider crab is found on the eastern seaboard of the United States at depths down to about 50 metres (160 ft). The range is from Cape Cod to southern Texas, including Cuba and the Bahamas. In the Indian River Lagoon, adults are found on sandy bottoms and juveniles in seagrass meadows. In the late 1900s this crab was identified off the coast of Tunisia, but by what means it had managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean is unclear.[4]

Reproduction[edit]

When breeding, the male transfer bundles of sperm called spermatophores to the female. Fertilisation is internal and afterwards the female broods the eggs under her abdomen until they hatch. The larvae then become part of the zooplankton, having two zoeal stages and one megalopal or post-larval stage. After that the larvae settle on the sea bed and undergo metamorphosis into juvenile crabs.[3]

Ecology[edit]

The longnose spider crab is a scavenger and detrivore. In seagrass meadows it eats the seaweeds that grow there. It is eaten by predatory fish such as the pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides), the gag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis) and the oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau). It attempts to avoid being eaten by sticking unpalatable seaweeds and invertebrates onto its carapace.[3] These include the brown alga, Dictyota menstrualis and the sun sponge (Hymeniacidon heliophila). As it grows larger it no longer needs to disguise itself in this way because its shell is too large for the predators to ingest.[3] It is sometimes associated with the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), living as an epibiont on its carapace.[5]

Longnose spider crabs are often found living inside the bells of cannonball jellies, Stomolophus meleagris.[3] It is thought they gain access as juveniles when the jellyfish happens to drift near the seabed or possibly they may metamorphosise from larvae directly inside the bell. It may be a symbiotic relationship with the crabs gaining protection from predators and obtaining food from their hosts but any benefit to the jellyfish is unclear, especially as its tissues may be nibbled.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter Davie & Michael Türkay (2012). "Libinia dubia H. Milne Edwards, 1834". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ Peter K. L. Ng, Danièle Guinot & Peter J. F. Davie (2008). "Systema Brachyurorum: Part I. An annotated checklist of extant Brachyuran crabs of the world" (PDF). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 17: 1–286. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Libinia dubia: Longnose spider crab". Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ Rudi Enzenross & Luzinda Enzenross (2000). "Nichtmediterrane Crustacea-Arten in tunesischen Gewässern (Decapoda, Macrura und Brachyura)" [Non-Mediterranean crustaceans in Tunisian waters (Decapoda, Macrura and Brachyura)]. Crustaceana (in German) 73 (2): 187–195. doi:10.1163/156854000504255. JSTOR 20106264. 
  5. ^ Michael G. Frick, Kristina L. Williams, Emily J. Markesteyn, Joseph B. Pfaller & Rebecca E. Frick (2004). "New records and observations of epibionts from loggerhead sea turtles". Southeastern Naturalist 3 (4): 613–620. doi:10.1656/1528-7092(2004)003[0613:nraooe]2.0.co;2. JSTOR 3878022. 
  6. ^ Richard Jachowski (1963). "Observations on the moon jelly, Aurelia aurita, and the spider crab, Libinia dubia". Chesapeake Science 4 (4): 195. doi:10.2307/1351361. 
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