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Notes on the behavior of Heteromysis harpax, a commensal mysid living in hermit crab shells
Vannini, M.; Ruwa, R. K.; Innocenti, G. (1994). Notes on the behavior of Heteromysis harpax, a commensal mysid living in hermit crab shells. Ethol. Ecol. Evol. 6(Suppl. 1): 137-142.
In: Ethology Ecology and Evolution. University Press: Firenze. ISSN 0394-9370, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Commensalism; Mysidacea [WoRMS]; Paguridae Latreille, 1802 [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Heteromysis harpax , Dardanus, commensalism, family groups

Authors  Top 
  • Vannini, M., more
  • Ruwa, R. K.
  • Innocenti, G.

    Heteromysis harpax (Mysidacea) is an obligate commensal, which lives in pairs inside the shells of various species of tropical Dardanus hermit crabs. Preliminary observations with transparent glass shells were carried out in the laboratory in Kenya. Heteromysis harpax probably employs both visual and chemical cues to identify suitable shells for habitation. The mysids were not attracted to shells occupied by hermits of a different genus (Calcinus). Usually, the mysids occupy the hindmost portion of the shell, but they will sometimes crawl and swim as far as the shell mouth. Inside the shell, the two partners do not live apart and usually can be found close to each other. Food consists of suspended particles and plankton. The mysids do not appear to perform active cleaning behaviour nor to be faecal feeders. They can easily follow the hermit when it changes shell and also avoid expulsion when the hermit moults.

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