Decapoda - Brachyura - Gecarcinidae - Gecarcinus

Gecarcinus ruricola (Linnaeus, 1758)



World Distribution
Chace & Hobbs (1969: 202, Smithsonian Institution) - Western Atlantic. Southern Florida, West Indies, Nicaragua (Andros I., San Salvador I., Rum Cay, Cuba, Jamaica, Navassa I., Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Saint Croix, Saba, Montserrat, Dominica, Barbados, Curacao, Isla de Providencia, Swan Is.).

Environnement : Land - Substrat/Association : Soft bottom (mud or sand)

Vertical range : Land & Freshwater - Min-Max observed: 0-0 m

Lesser Antilles data
Distribution: VGI (St Croix); Lesser Antilles, ICA (?St Martin, St Barthélemy, Saba, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, Barbados); IOV (Blanquilla, Bonaire, Curaçao, Aruba). Terrestrial. WA.
Gecarcinus ruricola - H. Milne Edwards, 1837: 26, Habite les Antilles. - Desbonne, in Desbonne & Schramm, 1867: 42, Guadeloupe [n°129 (mâle) Guadeloupe; in 2014, labeled as missing ('manque') in MNHN dry box]. - Pocock, 1889: 7, Dominica. - Verrill, 1892: 353, Dominica [coll. G.E. & A.H. Verrill, 1890]. - Doflein, 1899: 181, Martinique. - Rathbun, 1918: 354, Barbados, Curaçao [Also, Swan Is, Old Providence Is]. - Rathbun, 1920a: 25, Curaçao [coll. J. Boeke]. - Rathbun, 1924: 19, Curaçao [coll. C.J. van der Horst, 1920]. - Rathbun, 1936: 387, Bonaire, Curaçao, Aruba [coll. P. Hummelinck, 1930]. - Chace & Holthuis, 1948: 26, Bonaire, Curaçao, Aruba [Coll. P.Hummelinck].. - Chace & Hobbs, 1969: 201, St Croix, Saba, Montserrat, Dominica, Barbados, Curaçao. - Scelzo & Varela, 1988: 36, Blanquilla. - Yokoyama, 2010: 103, St Martin [Color photo, probably G. lateralis instead]. - Vaslet et al., 2013: 245, annex 3, Guadeloupe [from Bourgeois-Lebel 1982, not seen]. - Questel, 2014: 12, St Barthélemy.
Comment: No comparison specimens examined for this work to separate G. lateralis and G. ruricola. According to key in Chace & Hobbs (1969) there are only 4 rows of spine on dactyls of walking legs in G. lateralis versus 6 in G. ruricola. Photographs examined from St Barthélemy (2017, courtesy K. Questel) show additional characters useful to separate G. ruricola from G. lateralis: a) larger size; b) merus of third maxilliped rounded distally without emargination or notch; c) merus of cheliped longer with denticles on inner margin; d) carpus of cheliped with denticulation on inner margin; e) color rather variable, from dark purple to cream, but not with the orange coloration usual in G. lateralis.

Comment(s) on data
From Feminville, in Rathbun, 1918: 354 - They live in the low and marshy ground of the savannas of the West Indies, not far from the
shore. They hollow out burrows which are inclined obliquely and intersect one another in all directions. They stray but little except
at night to seek their prey. During the day they stay like sentinels at the edge of the openings and at the least noise they enter
precipitately. But in the season of abundant rain they spread over the country in a prodigious quantity, covering the prairies so
that they appear all red. They run much more rapidly than the Cardisoma and are very difficult to catch. -
From Calman, in Rathbun, 1918: 354 - The migration to the sea takes place annually during the rainy season in May. The crabs come down
from the hills in vast multitudes, clambering over any obstacles in their way, in their march toward the sea. The females enter the sea
to wash off the eggs which they carry attached to their abdominal appendages, or rather, probably, to allow the young to hatch out. The
crabs then return whence they came, and are followed later by the young, which having passed through their larval stages in the sea,
leave the water, and are found in thousands clinging to the rocks on the shore. -

References : PDF list, 214 pp (1.4 Mo)

This species in Worms Database