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Description of a new species of Pachycheles (Decapoda, Anomura, Porcellanidae) from the southern Caribbean Sea

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A new species of porcellanid crab from the southern Caribbean Sea is described. Pachycheles tuerkayi n. sp. has been confused with P. serratus (Benedict, 1901) since the 1950s because the two species are morphologically and ecologically similar and have overlapping distributions in the southern Caribbean. P. tuerkayi n. sp. is restricted to the coasts of Costa Rica, Panamá and Colombia. P. serratus ranges from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to the coasts of Panamá, Colombia and Venezuela. Genetic differences based on DNA sequences of the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene from the two species surpassed those estimated for geminate porcellanids on each side of the Isthmus of Panamá. Field observations where P. tuerkayi n. sp. and P. serratus overlap indicated that the two species come into contact when sharing the same substrate. The total number of porcellanid species in the western Atlantic rises to 50.

Affiliations: 1: 1Institut für Tierökologie und Spezielle Zoologie der Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 29 (Tierhaus), D-35392 Giessen, Germany ; 2: 2Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Panama, Republic of Panama

3Corresponding author; e-mail:

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