Alternate Title

Color Variation in the Caribbean Crab Platypodiella spectabilis (Herbst, 1794) (Decapoda, Brachyura, Xanthidae)

Document Type

Short Communication


The use of color in brachyuran crab systematics, and in particular the use of subtle color differences to suggest or differentiate cryptic or morphologically similar species, is now well documented (e.g., see Campbell and Mahon 1974 for species of Leptograpsus, Williams and Felder 1989 for species of Menippe, Zimmerman and Felder 1991 for species of Sesarma). Less clearly understood is why color patterns and intensities can sometimes vary appreciably within a species, even within narrowly restricted geographic regions. An appreciation of color patterns is critical to correctly identifying species for conservation and resource management purposes, yet often color patterns and ranges are unreported, causing confusion and sometimes misidentifications. Here we document a wide range of color patterns in a small Caribbean xanthid crab based on specimens collected in essentially the same habitat at the same time of year.

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