Horrid elbow crab Daldorfia horrida, photographed by Francesco De Marchi.

Belongs within: Heterotremata.

The Parthenopidae, elbow crabs or pebble crabs, are a family of tropical and subtropical marine crabs, notable for having particularly long chelipeds relative to the other legs. Most species have a subtriangular body shape, though the Indo-Pacific Lambrachaeus ramifer has the front of the carapace extended forward into a long neck.

See also: Crabs that cannot scratch their heads (Taxon of the Week: Parthenopidae).

Characters (from Gore & Scotto 1979): Eyes usually retractile within small circular well-defined orbits; floor of orbit nearly continued to fron, leaving a hiatus usually filled by second article of antennary peduncle which is small, short, not fused with epistome or front. Basal antennal article small, deeply embedd between inner angle of orbit and antennulary fossae. Antennules folding a little obliquely. Chelipeds not especially mobile, usually much longer and heavier than other legs, with fingers bent on the hand at an angle toward side with fixed finger. Palp of external maxilliped articulated at anterointernal angle of merus. Male openings coxal.

    |  i. s.: Rhinolambrus Milne-Edwards 1878 NM03
    |           |--*R. contrarius (Herbst 1804) [=Cancer contrarius] NM03
    |           |--R. cybelis (Alcock 1895) NM03
    |           |--R. sisimanensis Serène & Umali 1972 NM03
    |           `--R. turriger (White 1847) NM03
    |         Mimilambrus [Mimilambridae, Mimilambroidea] MD01
    |         Aulacolambrus MG-H11
    |--Daldorfia TSH09 [Daldorfiidae, Daldorfiinae NM03]
    |    `--D. horrida (Linnaeus 1758) TSH09 [=Parthenope horrida GS79]
    |--Lambrachaeus Alcock 1895 [Lambrachaeinae, Lambrachaeini] NM03
    |    `--*L. ramifer Alcock 1895 NM03
    `--Parthenopinae GS79
         |--Garthambrus Ng 1996 NM03
         |--Tutankhamen Rathbun 1925 GS79
         |    `--T. cristatipes (Milne Edwards 1880) [=Mesorhoea cristatipes, Lambrus cristatipes] GS79
         |--Thyrolambrus GS79
         |    |--T. astroides Rathbun 1894 GS79
         |    `--T. excavatus Baker 1905 MG-H11
         |--Platylambrus GS79
         |    |--P. carinatus GS79
         |    `--P. validus De Haan 1837 MG-H11
         |--Cryptopodia Milne Edwards 1834 GS79
         |    |--C. concava Stimpson 1871 GS79
         |    `--C. hassleri Rathbun 1925 GS79
         |--Mesorhoea Stimpson 1871 GS79
         |    |--M. belli (Milne Edwards 1878) GS79
         |    `--M. sexspinosa Stimpson 1871 [=M. sexpinosa; incl. Solenolambrus fastigatus Milne Edwards 1878] GS79
         |--Leiolambrus Milne Edwards 1878 GS79
         |    |--L. nitidus Rathbun 1901 GS79
         |    `--L. punctatissimus (Owen 1839) GS79
         |--Heterocrypta Stimpson 1871 GS79
         |    |--H. aloysioi Rodriques da Costa 1968 GS79
         |    |--H. colombiana Garth 1940 GS79
         |    |--H. granulata (Gibbes 1850) [=Cryptopodia granulata; incl. H. lapidea Rathbun 1901] GS79
         |    `--H. tommasii Rodriques da Costa 1959 GS79
         |--Solenolambrus Stimpson 1871 GS79
         |    |--S. arcuatus Stimpson 1871 GS79
         |    |--S. brasiliensis Rodrigues da Costa 1961 GS79
         |    |--S. decemspinosus Rathbun 1894 GS79
         |    |--S. portoricensis Rathbun 1924 GS79
         |    |--S. tenellus Stimpson 1871 (see below for synonymy) GS79
         |    `--S. typicus Stimpson 1871 GS79
         `--Parthenope Weber 1795 GS79
              |--P. agona (Stimpson 1871) [=Lambrus agonus, P. agonus (l. c.)] GS79
              |--P. angulifrons Latreille 1825 KK03
              |--P. aylthoni Righi 1965 GS79
              |--P. charlottensis Rathbun 1935 GS79
              |--P. chondrodes Davie & Turner 1994 MG-H11
              |--P. depressiuscula (Stimpson 1871) [=P. (Platylambrus) depressiuscula] GS79
              |--P. excavata (Stimpson 1871) GS79
              |--P. exilipes (Rathbun 1893) GS79
              |--P. fraterculus (Stimpson 1871) [=Lambrus fraterculus, Platylambrus fraterculus] GS79
              |--P. granulata (Kingsley 1879) [=Lambrus granulatus] GS79
              |--P. guerini (Brito Capello 1871) GS79
              |--P. hyponca (Stimpson 1871) GS79
              |--P. macrochelos (Herbst 1790) KK03
              |--P. massena Roux 1830 [=Lambrus massena] GS79
              |--P. meridionalis (Boschi 1965) GS79
              |--P. pourtalesii (Stimpson 1871) (see below for synonymy) GS79
              |--P. serrata (Milne Edwards 1834) (see below for synonymy) GS79
              |--P. stimpsoni Garth 1958 GS79
              `--P. triangula (Stimpson 1860) [=P. (Pseudolambrus) triangula] GS79

Parthenope pourtalesii (Stimpson 1871) [=Lambrus pourtalesii, Lambrous (l. c.) pourtalesii, Lambrus ponstalesi (l. c.), Platylambrus pourtalesii; incl. Lambrus verrillii Smith 1881, Parthenope verrillii] GS79

Parthenope serrata (Milne Edwards 1834) [=Lambrus serratus, Platylambrus serratus; incl. L. crenulatus Saussure 1858, Parthenope crenulata, L. lupoides White 1847 (n. n.), L. melanodactylus Desbonne in Desbonne & Schramm 1867 (n. n.)] GS79

Solenolambrus tenellus Stimpson 1871 [incl. Pisolambrus nitidus Milne Edwards 1878, Lambrus (Pisolambrus) nitidus] GS79

*Type species of generic name indicated


[GS79] Gore, R. H., & L. E. Scotto. 1979. Crabs of the family Parthenopidae (Crustacea Brachyura: Oxyrhyncha) with notes on specimens from the Indian River region of Florida. Memoirs of the Hourglass Cruises 3 (6): 1–98.

[KK03] Kocataş, A., & T. Katağan. 2003. The decapod crustacean fauna of the Turkish seas. Zoology in the Middle East 29: 63–74.

[MD01] Martin, J. W., & G. E. Davis. 2001. An updated classification of the Recent Crustacea. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County, Science Series 39: 1–124.

[MG-H11] McEnnulty, F. R., K. L. Gowlett-Holmes, A. Williams, F. Althaus, J. Fromont, G. C. B. Poore, T. D. O'Hara, L. Marsh, P. Kott, S. Slack-Smith, P. Alderslade & M. V. Kitahara. 2011. The deepwater megabenthic invertebrates on the western continental margin of Australia (100–1100 m depths): composition, distribution and novelty. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 80: 1–191.

[NM03] Ng, P. K. L., & C. L. McLay. 2003. On the systematic position of Lambrachaeus Alcock, 1895 (Brachyura, Parthenopidae). Crustaceana 76 (8): 897–915.

[TSH09] Titelius, M. A., A. Sampey & C. G. Hass. 2009. Crustaceans of Mermaid (Rowley Shoals), Scott and Seringapatam Reefs, north Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 77: 145–176.

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