Larval release rhythm of the land hermit crab Coenobita cavipes Stimpson, 1858 (Anomura, Coenobitidae) on Iriomote Island, Japan

in Crustaceana
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


The larval release behaviour of Coenobita cavipes Stimpson, 1858 was studied on Iriomote Island, Japan between June and September 2012. The larval release was observed for several days before and after the new and full moons between July and August and showed semi-lunar rhythms. The larval release occurred 1-3 h after sunset and the peak time was almost 30 min earlier in August than in July. The time was not synchronised with nocturnal high tides in earlier and later days in each phase of syzygy. Emerging from residual lowland forests behind the coast, ovigerous females walked towards the river’s water edge and released larvae at the swash zone on the riverbank in the lower river. Therefore, they do not need to synchronise the larval release to coincide with the timing of high tide, unlike their congeneric nearest neighbour, C. violascens Heller, 1862, which releases larvae on the mangrove roots in the upper river.


International Journal of Crustacean Research



AgostinelliC.LundU., 2017. R package ‘circular’: Circular Statistics (version 0.4-93). Available online at

AngerK., 2006. Contributions of larval biology to crustacean research: a review. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development, 49: 175-205.

AsakuraA., 2004. Recent topics on taxonomy of hermit crabs from Japanese waters – family Coenobitidae. Aquabiology, 26: 83-90. [In Japanese with English abstract.]

ChristyJ. H., 2003. Reproductive timing and larval dispersal of intertidal crabs: the predator avoidance hypothesis. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 76: 177-185.

ChristyJ. H., 2011. Timing of hatching and release of larvae by brachyuran crabs: patterns, adaptive significance and control. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 51: 62-72.

de WildeP. A. W. J., 1973. On the ecology of Coenobita clypeatus in Curaçao: with reference to reproduction, water economy and osmoregulation in terrestrial hermit crabs. Studies on the Fauna of Curaçao and Other Caribbean Islands, 44: 1-138.

DoiW.MizutaniA.KohnoH., 2016. Larval release and associated tree-climbing behavior of the land hermit crab Coenobita violascens Heller, 1862 (Anomura: Coenobitidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology, 36: 279-286.

DrewM. M.HarzschS.StensmyrM.ErlandS.HanssonB. S., 2010. A review of the biology and ecology of the robber crab, Birgus latro (Linnaeus, 1767) (Anomura: Coenobitidae). Zoologischer Anzeiger, 249: 45-67.

ForwardR. B.Jr., 1987. Larval release rhythms of decapod crustaceans: an overview. Bulletin of Marine Science, 41: 165-176.

FujikawaS.HamasakiK.SandaT.IshiyamaN.TsuruT.DanS.KitadaS., 2017. Distributional characteristics of terrestrial hermit crabs along the coasts of Ishigakijima Island and Iriomotejima Island, Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. Bulletin of Biogeographical Society of Japan, 71: 25-38. [In Japanese with English abstract.]

GreenawayP., 2003. Terrestrial adaptations in the Anomura (Crustacea: Decapoda). Memoirs of Museum Victoria, 60: 13-26.

HamasakiK.KatoS.MurakamiY.DanS.KitadaS., 2015. Larval growth, development and duration in terrestrial hermit crabs. Sexuality and Early Development in Aquatic Organisms, 1: 93-107.

HamasakiK.MatsudaT.TakanoK.SugizakiM.MurakamiY.DanS.KitadaS., 2016. Thermal adaptations of embryos of six terrestrial hermit crab species. Aquatic Biology, 25: 83-96.

HartnollR. G., 1988. Evolution, systematics, and geographical distribution. In: BurggrenW. W.McMahonB. R. (eds.), Biology of the land crabs: 6-54. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).

ImafukuM., 2001. Ecology of the land hermit crab Coenobita purpureus on Kikaijima Island. I. Breeding site, breeding season and migration. Memoirs of the Faculty of Science, Kyoto University — Series of Biology, 17: 55-76.

KohnoH.MizutaniA.DoiW., 2015. Population structure and gastropod shell use of land hermit crabs Coenobita cavipes and Coenobita violascens at the mouth of the Urauchi River on Iriomotejima Island, Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. In: WatanabeM. (ed.), The study review of iriomote Island, 2014: 50-64. (Okinawa Regional Research Center, Tokai University, Taketomi). [In Japanese with English abstract.]

KosugeT.KohnoH., 2010. Preliminary study on shell-utilization by land hermit crabs Coenobita brevimanus Dana and C. cavipes Stimpson in Itona, Ishigaki Island, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Nanki Seibutsu, 52: 113-118. [In Japanese with English abstract.]

MclaughlinP. A.RahayuD. L.KomaiT.ChanT.-Y., 2007. A catalog of the hermit crabs (Paguroidea) of Taiwan. (National Taiwan Ocean University, Taipei).

MclaughlinP. A.KomaiT.LemaitreR.RahayuD. L., 2010. Annotated checklist of anomuran decapod crustaceans of the world (exclusive of the Kiwaoidea and families Chirostylidae and Galatheidae of the Galatheoidea) part I — Lithodoidea, Lomisoidea and Paguroidea. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 23: 5-107.

MorganS. G., 1995. The timing of larval release. In: McEdwardL. (ed.), Ecology of marine invertebrate larvae: 157-191. (CRC Press, Florida).

MorganS. G., 1996. Influence of tidal variation on reproductive timing. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 206: 237-251.

MorganS. G.ChristyJ. H., 1997. Planktivorous fishes as selective agents for reproductive synchrony. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 209: 89-101.

NakasoneY., 1988. Land hermit crabs from the Ryukyus, Japan, with a description of a new species from the Philippines (Crustacea, Decapoda, Coenobitidae). Zoological Science, 5: 165-178.

NakasoneY., 2001. Reproductive biology of three land hermit crabs (Decapoda: Anomura: Coenobitidae) in Okinawa, Japan. Pacific Science, 55: 157-169.

Nieves-RiveraÁ.WilliamsE., 2003. Annual migrations and spawning of Coenobita clypeatus (Herbst) on Mona Island (Puerto Rico) and notes on inland crustaceans. Crustaceana, 76: 547-558.

Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education, 2006. A report on the distribution and ecology of land hermit crabs in Okinawa prefecture: 1-262. (Cultural Assets Division, Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education, Naha). [In Japanese with English abstract.]

R Core Team, 2017. R: a language and environment for statistical computing. (R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria).

RahayuD. L.ShihH.-T.NgP. K. L., 2016. A new species of land hermit crab in the genus Coenobita Latreille, 1829 from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, previously confused with C. cavipes Stimpson, 1858 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura: Coenobitidae). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement Series, 34: 470-488.

ReeseE. S., 1968. Annual breeding seasons of three sympatric species of tropical hermit crabs, with a discussion of factors controlling breeding. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 2: 308-318.

SatoT.YosedaK., 2008. Reproductive season and female maturity size of coconut crab Birgus latro on Hatoma Island, Southern Japan. Fisheries Science, 74: 1277-1282.

SatoT.YosedaK., 2009a. Egg extrusion site of coconut crab Birgus latro: direct observation of terrestrial egg extrusion. Marine Biodiversity Records, 2: e37.

SatoT.YosedaK., 2009b. Prediction of timing of mating and egg extrusion in the coconut crab Birgus latro judged from female pleonal expansion. Fisheries Science, 75: 641-648.

SkovM. W.HartnollR. G.RuwaR. K.ShunulaJ. P.VanniniM.CannicciS., 2005. Marching to a different drummer: crabs synchronize reproduction to a 14-month lunar-tidal cycle. Ecology, 86: 1164-1171.

WadaS.KitaokaH.GoshimaS., 2000. Reproduction of the hermit crab Pagurus lanuginosus and comparison of reproductive traits among sympatric species. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 20: 474-478.

YamaguchiS., 1938. Spawning and development of Coenobita rugosus. Bulteno Scienca de la Fakulato Terkultura, Kjusu Imperia Universitato, 8: 163-177. [In Japanese with English abstract.]


  • Map of Iriomote Island and study area. a, location of Urauchi River on Iriomote Island, Japan; b, location of study site along a sandy beach and riverbank.

    View in gallery
  • Temporal changes in the number of individuals of Coenobita cavipes Stimpson, 1858 releasing larvae in the Urauchi River between June and September 2012. The solid grey line indicates the maximum tidal amplitude. The open and closed circles indicate the full moon and the new moon, respectively.

    View in gallery
  • Frequency histogram (30-min intervals) of larval release times of Coenobita cavipes Stimpson, 1858 in Urauchi River relative to (A) sunset and (b) high tide times.

    View in gallery


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 4 4 3
Full Text Views 1 1 0
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0