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Holothuriophilus trapeziformis Nauck, 1880 (Decapoda: Pinnotheridae) from the Pacific coast of Mexico: taxonomic revision based on integrative taxonomy.

  • Cortés-Carrasco, Fernando1
  • Elías-Gutiérrez, Manuel2
  • García-Madrigal, María Del Socorro3
  • 1 Departamento de Sistemática y Ecología Acuática, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Unidad Chetumal, Chetumal, Mexico. , (Mexico)
  • 2 Departamento de Sistemática y Ecología Acuática, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico. , (Mexico)
  • 3 Laboratorio de Sistemática de Invertebrados Marinos (LABSIM), Universidad del Mar, Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca, Mexico. , (Mexico)
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.12774
PMID: 35228905


Holothuriophilus trapeziformis Nauck, 1880 is a holothurian-dweller pinnotherid crab representing one of the two species of the genus distributed along the Pacific coast of Mexico and Chile, respectively. While the parasitic ecological interaction with its host is well established, the morphology of the male remains unknown, and DNA information for the species is not available. Furthermore, the only morphological trait separating both species of the genus is subjective and corresponds to the presence or absence of a gap between the fingers of the chelae. Our goal is to complete and clarify the taxonomic status of H. trapeziformis and describe the male morphology with the use of the integrative taxonomy, providing additional characters to differentiate this species. We collected new biological material in the Pacific coast of Mexico including the topotypes. We also reviewed material from national collections to integrate morphology (based on a complete and detailed description and illustration of the species using light microscopy), ecological data (based on the identification of the host and the place where it was located within the host), and the mtCOI gene information (commonly known as DNA barcode) to differentiate Holothuriophilus trapeziformis from other related crabs. This species presents marked sexual dimorphism only in the primary sexual characters. For the first time we describe morphological variability of traditionally stable characters. In addition to the gap between the fingers of the chelae, Holothuriophilus trapeziformis differs from H. pacificus (Poeppig, 1836) by their ornamentation, the shape of the male abdomen, and the gonopod. Cytocrome Oxidase 1 gene (COI) distance divergence was >3% between both Holothuriophilus species forming a clear clade. DNA barcoding indicates only one taxon, with a maximum divergence of 2.2%. All the specimens have the same Barcode Index Number (BIN; BOLD: ADE9974). All the hosts for H. trapeziformis were identified as Holothuria (Halodeima) inornata Semper, 1868; the presence of the crab in the host's coelomic cavity was confirmed, and for the first time we found it within the intestine. The geographical distribution is the Pacific coast of Mexico. Based on the data presented here, the taxonomic status of Holothuriophilus trapeziformis is now complete. © 2022 Cortés-Carrasco et al.

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