Carcinoplax abyssicola ( Miers, 1885 ),

Ng, Peter K. L. & Castro, Peter, 2020, A revision of Carcinoplax abyssicola (Miers, 1885) and seven related species of Carcinoplax H. Milne Edwards, 1852, with the description of two new species and an updated key to the genus (Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura, Goneplacidae), Zoosystema 42 (17), pp. 239-284: 243-251

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Carcinoplax abyssicola ( Miers, 1885 )


Carcinoplax abyssicola ( Miers, 1885) 

( Figs 1View FIG A-D; 2View FIG A-H; 3View FIG A-I; 4View FIG A-H; 5View FIG A-H; 23View FIG A-D, E-H; 26View FIG A-F)

Pseudorhombila (Pilumnoplax) abyssicola Miers, 1885: 588  [ Fiji].

Pilumnoplax abyssicola Miers, 1886  : xxiv, xl, xlviii, 226, 227 [in list], 228, pl. 19, figs 2, 2a, 2b [ Fiji]. — Tesch 1918: 155 [in list], 156 [in key], 156 [ Indonesia]. — Serène 1968: 90 [in list]. — Guinot 1969: 526; 1971: 1081 [in list]. — Serène & Lohavanijaya 1973: 62 [in list], 65 [in key].

Not Pilumnoplax abyssicola  – Whitelegge 1900: 158 (= Pycnoplax meridionalis (Rathbun, 1923))  .

Neopilumnoplax abyssicola  – Serène 1968: 90 [in list].

Carcinoplax abyssicola  – Guinot 1969: 526; 1989: 305, fig. 38; pl. 9, figs A-C [holotype] [ Fiji]. — Castro 2007: 623 View Cited Treatment [in list]. 627 [in key], 628 [holotype] [ Fiji]. — Ng et al. 2008: 80 [in list].

Carcinoplax specularis  [part] – Castro 2007: 640 View Cited Treatment [ Indonesia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga].

TYPE MATERIAL. — Holotype. Fiji. ♂, 8.2 × 10.0 mm ( Castro 2007), Challenger ; stn 173; NHM 84.31. 

TYPE LOCALITY. — Fiji, Challenger; stn 173; 576 m depth.

MATERIAL EXAMINED. — Indonesia • 1 ♀, 11.2 × 15.2 mm; Kai Is.; KARUBAR; stn CP59; 08°20’S, 132°11’E; 399-405 m depth; 31.X.1991; MNHN-IU-2016-100 (= MNHN-B29387)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 19.3 × 24.5 mm; KARUBAR; stn CP63; 08°00’S, 132°58’E; 214-215 m depth; 1.XI.1991; MNHN-IU- 2016-99 (= MNHN-B29380)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 12.4 × 17.6 mm; Java; E. Sunda Strait; SJADES; stn CP7; 05°44.678’S, 104°51.151’E; 379-409 m depth; 25.III.2018; ZRC 2018.1414View MaterialsGoogleMaps  4 ♀, 1 ovigerous ♀, 1♂; same data as ZRC 2019.0568GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 13.9 × 19.9 mm, 1 ♀, 14.8 × 20.0 mm, 1 ♂, 12.8 × 19.1 mm, 1 ♂, 13.6 × 18.4 mm; Java; E. Sunda Strait; SJADES; stn CP8; 05°45.126’S, 104°51.080’E; 425-442 m depth; 25.III.2018; ZRC 2018.1415View MaterialsGoogleMaps  5 ♀, 7.6 × 10.1 mm to 14.5 × 21.2 mm; same data as ZRC 2019.0569GoogleMaps  5 ♀; same data as ZRC 2019.0569GoogleMaps  1♂, 13.0 × 19.4 mm; SJADES; stn CP10; Java; E. Sunda Strait; 05°45.399’S, 104°56.098’E; 429-446 m depth; 25.III.2018; ZRC 2018.1416View MaterialsGoogleMaps  1 ♂, 2♀, 10.0 × 13.8 mm, 11.9 × 16.1 mm, 1 ♂, 13.9 × 20.3 mm; SJADES; stn CP39; E. Indian Ocean; 08°15.885’S, 109°10.163’E; 528-637 m depth; 30.III.2018; ZRC 2018.1418View MaterialsGoogleMaps  .

Papua New Guinea • 1 ♂, 14.3 × 19.1 mm; BIOPAPUA; stn CP3570; 1.X.2010; 497-500 m depth; ZRC 2019.1029View Materials; ex MNHN- IU-2011-1469  1 ♂, 11.8 × 16.5 mm; BIOPAPUA; stn CP3740; 556-645 m depth; 10.X.2010; MNHN-IU-2011-2471  1 ♂, 13.2 × 16.4 mm; BIOPAPUA; stn CP3742; 448-470 m depth; 10.X.2010; ZRC 2019.1028View Materials; ex MNHN-IU-2011-2001  1 ♀, 13.9 × 11.0 mm; PAPUA NIUGNI; stn CP3970; 04°39’S, 145°52’E; 573 m depth; 4.12.2012; MNHN-IU-2013-9399GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 11.0 × 11.7 mm; PAPUA NIUGNI; stn CP4033; 04°52’S, 145°53’E; 780 m depth; 16.12.2012; MNHN-IU-2013-9402GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 11.8 × 16.7 mm; PAPUA NIUGNI; stn CP4042; 03°53’S, 144°40’E; 495-693 m depth; 18.XII.2012; MNHN-IU-2013-9391GoogleMaps  1 ♂, 8.7 × 11.0 mm; PAPUA NIUGNI; stn CP4048; 03°20’S, 143°28’E; 325-345 m depth; 19.XII.2012; MNHN-IU-2013-9405GoogleMaps  1 ♂, 6.0 × 7.4 mm; same data as MNHN- IU-2013-9405; MNHN-IU-2013-15592  1 ♂, 8.1 × 9.9 mm; same data as MNHN-IU-2013-9405; MNHN-IU-2013-9393  .

Solomon Islands • 1 ♀, 11.7 × 15.9 mm; SALOMON 1; stn CP1747; 09°21.8’S, 159°58.7’E; 364-402 m depth; 25.IX.2001; MNHN- IU-2016-129 (= MNHN-B29394)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 11.1 × 16.1 mm; SALO- MON 1; stn CP1748; 09°20.4’S, 159°58.2’E; 509-522 m depth; 25.IX.2001; MNHN-IU-2016-128 (= MNHN-B29395)GoogleMaps  1 ♂, 5.8 × 7.5 mm; SALOMON 1; stn DW1768; 08°21.4’S, 160°41.8’E; 194-286 m depth; 28.IX.2001; MNHN-IU-2016-127 (= MNHN- 29393)GoogleMaps  2 ♀, 6.2 × 7.6 mm; 12.9 × 16.5 mm; SALOMON 1; stn DW1808; 09°45.5’S, 160°52.5’E; 611-636 m depth; 2.X.2001; MNHN-IU-2016-130 (= MNHN-B29396)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 12.3 × 18.8 mm; SALOMON 1; stn DW1851; 10°27.6’S, 162°00’E; 297-350 m depth; 6.X.2001; MNHN-IU-2016-131 (= MNHN-B29397)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 10.5 × 13.7 mm; SALOMON 1; stn CP2288; 08°36.3’S, 157°26.5’E; 509-520 m depth; 7.XI.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-133 (= MNHN-B30095)GoogleMaps  . • 2 ♀, 10.9 × 14.0 mm; 13.8 × 19.2 mm; SALOMON 2; stn CP2195; 08°25.5’S, 159°26.4’E; 543-593 m depth; 24.X.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-136 (= MNHN-B30111)GoogleMaps  1 ovigerous ♀, 13.5 × 18.8 mm; SALOMON 2; stn 2212; 07°37.8’S, 157°41.7’E; 400-475 m depth; 26.X.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-134 (= MNHN-B30114)GoogleMaps  1 ♂; SALOMON 2; stn CP2213; 07°38.7’S, 157°42.9’E; 495-650 m depth; 26.X.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-138 (= MNHN-B30097)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 2 ♂; SALOMON 2; stn CP2246; 07°42.6’S, 156°24.6’E; 664-682 m depth; 1.X.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-132 (= MNHN-B30109)GoogleMaps  1♂, 10.8 × 14.9 mm; SALOMON 2; stn CP2262; 07°56.4’S, 156°51.2’E; 460-487 m depth; 3.X.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-137 (= MNHN-B30112)GoogleMaps  1 juvenile, 6.7 × 8.3 mm; SALOMON 2; stn CP2287; 08°40.8’S, 157°24.6’E; 253-255 m depth; 6.XI.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-135 (= MNHN- B30089View Materials)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, cl 13.4 mm; carapace damaged; Malaita; SALOMON BOA 3; stn CP2787; 08°31’S, 160°39’E; NW 570-885 m depth; 14.IX.2007; MNHN-IU-2010-5567GoogleMaps  1 ♂, 8.3 × 9.9 mm; same data as MNHN-IU-2010-5567; MNHN-IU-2010-5568GoogleMaps  .

Vanuatu • 1 ♀, 11.9 × 16.2 mm, 2 ♂, 9.9 × 14.1 mm, 14.5 × 19.8 mm; BOA0; stn CP2304; 16°35’S, 167°59’E, 564-582 m depth; 14.XI.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-118GoogleMaps  1 ovigerous ♀, 12.8 × 17.5 mm; BOA0; stn CP2313; 15°04’S, 166°55’E; 421-482 m depth; 16.XI.2004; MNHN-IU-2016-116)GoogleMaps  1 ♂, 10.7 × 14.0 mm; BOA0; stn CP2330; 295-890 m depth; 18.II.2004; MNHN- IU-2016-117  ) • 1 ♀, 11.9 × 14.8 mm; BOA1; stn CP2457, 16°16’S, 167°19’E; 630-690 m depth; 6.XII.2005; MNHN-IU-2016-115GoogleMaps  2 ♀, 9.7 × 12.9 mm, 10.4 × 14.6 mm; SANTO 2006; stn AT9; W. Malo I.; 15°41.5’S, 167°01.3’E, 481 m depth; 17.IX.2006; ZRC 2008.0970View MaterialsGoogleMaps  1 ♂, 8.0 × 10.6 mm; SANTO 2006; stn AT19; W Malo I.; 15°41’S, 167°01’E; 503-600 m depth; 21.IX.2006; ZRC 2018.1419View MaterialsGoogleMaps  1 juvenile female; no data; ZRC 2009.0994View Materials  .

New Caledonia. 3 ♂; SMIB 6; stn DW212; 19°05.6’S, 163°30.2’E; 220-225 m depth; 2.III.1990; MNHN-IU-2016-120 (= MNHN- B29818View Materials)GoogleMaps  1 ♂, 13.0 × 17.6 mm; BATHUS 4; stn CP910; 18°59.32’S, 163°08.47’E; 560-608 m depth; 5.VIII.1994; MNHN-IU-2016-111 (= MNHN-B29417)GoogleMaps  2♂; BATHUS 4; stn CP911; 18°57.80’S, 163°08.47’E; 566- 558 m depth; 5.VIII.1994; MNHN-IU-2016-112 (= MNHN-B29420)GoogleMaps  1 ♂, 6.0 × 7.3 mm; EXBODI: stn CP3788; 22°13’S, 167°07’E; 264-273 m depth; 3.IX.2011; MNHN- IU-2011-8816GoogleMaps  .

Fiji • 3 ♀, largest 11.2 × 15.6 mm; MUSORSTOM 10; stn DW1330; 17°09.5’S, 177°56.3’E; 567-699 m depth; 8.VIII.1998; MNHN- IU-2014-11513 (= MNHN-B29504)GoogleMaps  3 ♀, 1 ♂, 10.5 × 15.3 mm; BORDAU 1; stn DW1393; 16°45’S, 179°59’E; 426-487 m depth; 23.II.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-11531 (= MNHN-B29505)GoogleMaps  1 juve- nile ♀, 7 ♀, largest 11.7 × 16.0 mm, 2 ♂, larger one 11.0 × 15.5 mm; BORDAU 1; stn DW1395; 16°45’S, 179°59’E; 423-500 m depth; 23.II.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-11529 (= MNHN-B29505)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 2 ♂; ZRC 2019.1030View Materials; same data as MNHN-IU-2014-11529GoogleMaps  1 ♂, cl 13.4 mm, carapace damaged; BORDAU 1; stn CP1401; 16°35’S, 179°41’E; 600-648 m depth; 25.II.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-11532 (= MNHN-B29506)GoogleMaps  1 ♂, 13.3 × 17.8 mm; BORDAU 1; stn CP1407; 16°40’S, 179°39’E, 499-527 m depth; 25.II.1999; MNHN- IU-2014-11533 (= MNHN-B29507)GoogleMaps  9 ♀, largest 11.1 × 15.0 mm, 4 ♂, largest 12.4 × 17.6 mm; BORDAU 1; stn DW1447; 16°45’S, 179°59’E; 420-513 m depth; 4.III.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-11530 (= MNHN-B29503)GoogleMaps  2 ♀, 2 ♂; ZRC 2019.1027View Materials; same data as MNHN-IU-2014-11530GoogleMaps  1 ♀; BORDAU 1; stn CP1448; 16°45’S, 179°59’E; 410-500 m depth; 4.III.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-11534 (= MNHN-B29508)GoogleMaps  2 ♀, 1 ♂; BORDAU 1; stn DW1451; 16°45’S, 179°59’E; 400-460 m depth; 4.III.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-11535 (= MNHN-B29509)GoogleMaps  1 juvenile ♀, 1 ♀, cl 9.4 mm, carapace damaged; BORDAU 1; stn DW1453; 16°45’S, 179°59’E; 414- 510 m depth; 4.III.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-11536 (= MNHN- B29510View Materials)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 7.2 × 9.9 mm; BORDAU 1; stn DW1463; 18°10’S, 178°44’W; 300-400 m depth; 6.III.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-7671 (= MNHN-B29511)GoogleMaps  1 ♂; BORDAU 1; stn DW1491; 18°50’S, 178°52’W; 777-787 m depth; 11.III.1999; MNHN-IU-2014-7697 (= MNHN-B29511)GoogleMaps  .

Tonga • 1 juvenile ♀; BORDAU 2; stn CP1530; 21°12’S, 174°58’W; 802-803 m depth; 3.VI.2000; MNHN-IU-2014-11538 (= MNHN- B29555View Materials)GoogleMaps  3 ♀; BORDAU 2; stn CP1539; 21°37’S, 175°19’W; 558-586 m depth; 4.VI.2000; MNHN-IU-2014-11539 (= MNHN- B29558View Materials)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 1 ♂; BORDAU 2; stn DW1553; 20°42’S, 174°54’W; 650-676 m depth; 6.VI.2000; MNHN-IU-2014-11544 (= MNHN- B29566View Materials)GoogleMaps  1 ♀; BORDAU 2; stn CP1556; 20°11’S, 174°45’W; 589-591 m depth; 7.VI.2000; MNHN-IU-2014-11541 (= MNHN- B29560View Materials)GoogleMaps  1 juvenile ♀; BORDAU 2; stn CP1557; 20°10’S, 174°42’W; 578 m depth; 7.VI.2000; MNHN-IU-2014-11543 (= MNHN-B29563)GoogleMaps  8 ovigerous ♀, 4 ♀, 1 ♂; BORDAU 2; stn CP1568; 21°02’S, 175°19’W; 431 m depth; 10.VI.2000; MNHN- 2014-11537 (= MNHN-B29309)GoogleMaps  1 ♀, 1 ♂; ZRC 2019.1031View Materials; same data as MNHN-2014-11537; 2 ovigerous ♀, largest 13.3 × 18.0 mm, 8 ovigerous ♀, 5 ♀, 2 ♂; same data as MNHN- 2014- 11537; MNHN-2014-11537 (= MNHN-B29309)GoogleMaps  2 ovigerous ♀; BORDAU 2; stn CP1620; 24°18’S, 176°20’W; 572 m depth; 18.VI.2000; MNHN-IU-2014-11540 (= MNHN-B29559)GoogleMaps  1 ju- venile ♀; BORDAU 2; stn CP1641; 21°09’S, 175°22’W; 395 m depth; 21.VI.2000; MNHN-IU-2014-11542 (= MNHN-B29561)GoogleMaps  .


Carapace ( Figs 1A, DView FIG; 2A, B, IView FIG; 3A, BView FIG; 4A, BView FIG; 5A, BView FIG; 26View FIG A-F) Quadrate, slightly wider than long (1.2 × as wide as long in holotype; Castro 2007), anterolateral borders arched; slightly convex, mostly smooth, rarely granular in large specimens, marked by slight transverse elevations in branchial regions. Front ( Figs 3C, DView FIG; 4C, DView FIG; 5CView FIG) lamellar, straight, margin not marked by median notch; notch between front, inner edge of supraorbital border. Supraorbital borders sinuous, margins smooth; suborbital borders with short, rounded inner tooth, reduced in some specimens. Outer orbital angles truncated when seen dorsally; first anterolateral teeth rounded but sometimes acute, second curved, acute-tipped. Posterolateral borders arched. Subhepatic, pterygostomial regions, pterygostomial crest, pterygostomial lobe, merus, ischium of third maxilliped endopod with short, small granules. Posterior margin of epistome ( Figs 2CView FIG; 3C, DView FIG; 4C, DView FIG; 5CView FIG) straight, slight median projection in some specimens; u- or v-shaped notch on each lateral margin.

Chelipeds ( Figs 1A, CView FIG; 2A, F, HView FIG; 3A, F, IView FIG; 4A, F, HView FIG; 5A, HView FIG; 26View FIG A-F) and ambulatory legs ( Figs 1A, DView FIG; 2AView FIG; 3AView FIG; 4AView FIG; 5AView FIG; 26View FIG A-F)

Chelipeds (P1) nearly equal in females and males; fingers slender, about as long or slightly shorter as propodus, with cutting edges, broadly blunt teeth; nearly all distal portion of fingers dark brown in males, half to 3/ 4 in females ( Figs 1A, CView FIG; 2A, F, HView FIG; 3A, F, IView FIG; 4A, HView FIG; 5A, HView FIG; 26View FIG A-F). “Window” (see discussion of C. specularis  below) observed on outer surface of cheliped propodi in several males (e.g. MNHN- IU-2014-11529, 11.0 × 15.5 mm [ Fig. 3IView FIG] and MNHN- IU-2016-127, 5.8 × 7.5 mm). Inner, outer (dorsal), distal margin of cheliped carpus with short, triangular to acute tooth ( Figs 1A, CView FIG; 2FView FIG; 3FView FIG; 4FView FIG; 5EView FIG). P2-P5 ( Figs 1A, DView FIG; 2AView FIG; 3AView FIG; 4AView FIG; 5AView FIG; 26View FIG A-F) slender, proportionally long, smooth; many short, simple setae along inner, outer margins of P5 propodus, dactylus, outer margin of P5 carpus; P5 dactylus long, slender, smooth.

Sternum, male pleon ( Figs 2DView FIG; 3HView FIG; 4GView FIG), and male gonopods ( Fig. 23View FIG A-C, E-G)

Tomentum on sternum and pleon of large individuals of both sexes. Male pleon ( Figs 2DView FIG; 3HView FIG; 4GView FIG) proportionally wide, with 6 freely-movable somites plus telson; telson slightly wider than long, somite 3 covering space between P5 coxae. Somites 1, 2 slightly narrower than somite 3, thoracic sternite 8 not visible. G1 ( Fig. 23View FIG A-C, E-G) straight, short, obtuse to slightly laterally pointed tip; dorsal surface with numerous minute spinules that nearly reach tip. G2 ( Fig. 23D, HView FIG) slender, slightly longer than G1, slightly curved flagellum, tip with spinule at each side.

Female pleon ( Fig. 5FView FIG) and vulva ( Fig. 5GView FIG)

Female pleon ( Fig. 5FView FIG) wide; telson slightly wider than long. Somites 1, 2 covering space between P5 coxae, thoracic sternite 8 not visible.Vulva of mature females ( Fig.5GView FIG) extending from edge of suture 5/6 to suture 6/7; membrane covering aperture leaving space open along pointed anterior margin.

COLOUR IN LIFE. — Carapace and chelipeds light to bright orange; legs white with broad orange band across middle ( Fig. 26View FIG A-F).

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. — Indonesia (Kai Is and southern Java), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.

DEPTH. — Present in samples collected at depths of 194- 890 m.


The taxonomy of C. abyssicola  , C. longipes  , and C. verdensis  has been confused mainly because of a shortage of specimens, as well as having type specimens that are small or females. It has been made more difficult because these species sometimes overlap in distribution, with C. abyssicola  and C. longipes  now known to co-occur in southern Java.

Carcinoplax abyssicola  has been a problematic species because it was described from only one small male (8.2 × 10.0 mm, NHM 84.31), and its affinities with allied taxa have been far from clear. Guinot (1989) and Castro (2007) examined the holotype male and the present study confirms the specimens from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tonga and Indonesia (Kai Is and southern Java) are conspecific with the type. The anterolateral armature varies to some degree; the holotype has a small first tooth on the right side while that on the left side is missing ( Fig. 1BView FIG). A male (10.5 × 15.3 mm, MNHN-IU-2014-11531) also has an acute right tooth but an obtuse left tooth ( Fig. 2IView FIG). The holotype specimen no longer has the male pleon and the gonopods are not in the bottle. The G1 and G2 of the holotype, however, were sketched by the second author in 2004. Their morphology agrees with the gonopods drawn here ( Fig. 23View FIG A-C, E-G), except that the tip of the G1 appears slightly longer. It, however, falls within the variation observed in the species.

The description by Miers (1886: 228) agrees with the material at hand but the diagnostic details in the description are scant. We are therefore re-describing the species in order to include a good number of diagnostic characters not included in the original description. No mention was made of the notch at the lateral borders of the front as well as details on the morphology of the epistome and the gonopods. Miers’ figures clearly show the small granules along the anterior portion of the ventral surface of the carapace, which are diagnostic for the species ( Miers 1886: pl. 19, fig. 2a; Fig. 1B, CView FIG), and the fingers of the male holotype were black along their distal twothirds ( Miers 1886: pl. 19, fig. 2b; Fig. 1A, CView FIG) (now faded in the type specimen; Fig. 1G, HView FIG).

With only one specimen at that time, Guinot (1989) accepted the validity of C. abyssicola  and indicated that it was close to C. longipes  . Castro (2007) commented on the similarities between the holotype of C. abyssicola  and specimens of C. specularis  s.l., a species in which he included two species now being resurrected. He found that the main difference between the two species was the truncated and posteriorly inclined outer orbital angles of the holotype of C. abyssicola  , a condition that is visible in the illustrations of the holotype by Guinot (1989: fig. 38; pl. 9, figs A, B).

Although we are now able to separate C. specularis  s. str. (and the allied C. adelphia  n. sp.) from the other species previously included under it (see Remarks for this species), the taxonomic history of C. abyssicola  , C. longipes  , and C. verdensis  is confusing and is best discussed together here.

The presence of a good series of fresh specimens of C. abyssicola  and C. longipes  in the deep waters of southern Java is significant as it allows us to compare them directly. They are most easily distinguished by the proportions of their legs, which in C. longipes  are distinctly longer ( Figs 6AView FIG; 7AView FIG; 8AView FIG; 9AView FIG; 27View FIG A-C), especially the meri. The ambulatory meri of C. abyssicola  are relatively shorter and stouter ( Figs 1A, EView FIG; 2AView FIG; 3AView FIG; 4AView FIG; 5AView FIG; 26View FIG A-F). Another obvious difference, which can vary occasionally, is the armature of the anterolateral margin (not including the external orbital tooth). The anterolateral teeth of C. abyssicola  , especially the first one, are more obtusely triangular in adults ( Figs 1EView FIG; 2B, IView FIG; 3BView FIG; 4BView FIG; 5BView FIG). In C. longipes  , the teeth are acutely triangular, appearing almost spiniform, and are spaced further apart as a result ( Figs 6BView FIG; 7BView FIG; 8BView FIG; 9BView FIG). The structure of the posterior margin of the epistome is also useful to separate the two species in most cases; in C. abyssicola  , the median truncated lobe is separated from the lateral margins by a relatively shallower and narrower cleft ( Figs 2CView FIG; 3DView FIG; 4FView FIG; 5CView FIG) but this cleft is deeper and wider in C. longipes  ( Figs 5CView FIG; 6CView FIG; 7DView FIG; 8DView FIG). The structures of their G1 are superficially similar but the general structure is proportionately shorter and more slender, especially on the basal part ( Fig. 23A, EView FIG) in C. abyssicola  , whereas the G1 is more elongated and the basal part is relatively broader and more truncated in C. longipes  ( Fig. 23IView FIG).

The two species differ in their colour in life. Carcinoplax abyssicola  is a distinct orange ( Fig. 26View FIG A-F), with larger specimens dull or dark orange. The legs are white with a broad orange band across middle portions. In contrast, the overall colour in C. longipes  is a faded yellowish-orange with the legs more uniformly coloured ( Fig. 27View FIG A-C).

Carcinoplax abyssicola  and C. longipes  are both superficially similar to C. verdensis  in the shape of their carapaces and the relatively more elongated legs, but C. verdensis  can usually be distinguished by several clear features. The inner distal tooth of the carpus of the cheliped in C. verdensis  is usually elongated, with the distal half sharply tapering to an acute spine in both sexes and usually even in subadults ( Figs 14FView FIG; 15EView FIG). The inner distal tooth of the carpal spine is always more obtuse and the distal part is never spiniform in C. abyssicola  ( Figs 2EView FIG; 3GView FIG; 4FView FIG, 5EView FIG) and C. longipes  ( Figs 6EView FIG; 7FView FIG; 8FView FIG; 9EView FIG). The carpal spine of Miers’ drawing of the holotype of C. abyssicola  is nevertheless spiniform ( Fig. 1CView FIG), but obtuse in Guinot’s photograph of the holotype ( Fig. 1EView FIG). Some specimens of C. verdensis  from the Philippine and South China seas, however, have relatively less elongated carpal spines ( Fig. 13FView FIG); so this character is not always reliable. The ambulatory meri of C. verdensis  is usually elongated and slender ( Figs 13AView FIG; 14AView FIG; 15AView FIG) like in C. longipes  ( Figs 6AView FIG; 7AView FIG; 8AView FIG), but the ambulatory merus appears relatively shorter in a few specimens ( Fig. 9AView FIG), although it is still longer than those of adult C. abyssicola  ( Figs 1A, EView FIG; 2AView FIG; 3AView FIG; 4AView FIG; 5AView FIG). The structure of the posterior margin of the epistome of C. verdensis  resembles that of C. abyssicola  , with the truncated median lobe separated from the lateral margins by a relatively deep cleft ( Figs 2C, DView FIG; 4DView FIG; 5CView FIG for C. abyssicola  ; Figs 6CView FIG; 7DView FIG; 8DView FIG; 9CView FIG for C. longipes  ). Carcinoplax verdensis  more closely resembles C. longipes  in the shape of their anterolateral teeth, with the spines typically more acute and spiniform ( Figs 6BView FIG; 7BView FIG; 8BView FIG; 9BView FIG for C. longipes  ; Figs 13BView FIG; 14BView FIG; 15BView FIG for C. verdensis  ). There are, however, several specimens that have more obtuse teeth ( Fig. 13BView FIG), demonstrating that the shape of anterolateral teeth is not always a reliable character among these and other species of Carcinoplax  .

Two characters, however, seem constant for C. verdensis  and support our view that this is a distinct species. The fingers of the chelipeds in adult C. verdensis  of both sexes are dark brown or almost black only along the distal two-thirds to half of the fingers ( Figs 13I, JView FIG; 14HView FIG; 15AView FIG); whereas in C. abyssicola  and C. longipes  , almost the entire length of the fingers in adults is pigmented ( Figs 1CView FIG; 2F, HView FIG; 3F, IView FIG; 4HView FIG; 5HView FIG for C. abyssicola  ; Figs 6AView FIG; 7AView FIG; 8HView FIG; 9HView FIG for C. longipes  ). While the G1 of C. verdensis  is similar to that of C. abyssicola  , being relatively shorter and less broad basally, the distal part in C. verdensis  is always directed obliquely outwards ( Fig. 24View FIG A-C), whereas the distal part is more truncated and the tip is directed laterally in C. abyssicola  ( Fig. 23View FIG A-C, E-G).

Additional support on the distinct nature of C. abyssicola  has been provided by preliminary data based on the barcode region of the cytochrome oxidase I ( COI) gene (L. Corbari, unpublished data) as well as C. abyssicola  and the remaining species treated here (L. M. Tsang, unpublished data).

On the basis of the figures of the specimens, and in particular the structures of the G1, it is clear that the material referred to as ‘ Carcinoplax aff. longipes  ’ by Guinot (1989) ( Fig. 24E, GView FIG) belongs to C. verdensis  as presently defined.

The known geographical distributions of the four species being discussed are relatively distinct. Carcinoplax abyssicola  so far is known from the western Pacific, from southeastern Moluccas and southern Java in Indonesia to Tonga (see above) as well as in the easternmost part of the Indian Ocean. Carcinoplax longipes  is known only from the Indian Ocean, although it occurs in the same area as C. abyssicola  in southern Java. The two species, however, seem to have different habitats and were only collected together from one station (out of 10 stations) in Java. Carcinoplax verdensis  is known for certain only from Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, and South China Sea (see below). Carcinoplax fasciata  is so far known from the Arabian Sea off the coast of Kerala, India. Carcinoplax abyssicola  and the species treated here so far extend east as far as Tonga. The only species of Carcinoplax  east of Tonga are two small-size species, C. velutina Castro, 2007  and C. uncinata Castro, 2009  both known from French Polynesia. Carcinoplax velutina  is also found in Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Fiji ( Castro 2007); C. uncinata  in New Caledonia and Solomon Islands ( Castro 2009). Carcinoplax uncinata  is herein recorded from French Polynesia for the first time (male 8.8 × 11.4 mm, TARASOC; stn CP3376, Tuamotu Archipelago, 15°41’S, 146°54’W, 646- 737 m depth; 10.V.2009, MNHN-IU-2011-5233).

The depth distribution is similar in all three species. Specimens of C. abyssicola  and C. longipes  were taken at maximum depths of 890 m and 870 m, respectively, but one specimen of C. verdensis  was recorded at 2149 m, which is likely to be in error.

Individuals of C. abyssicola  and C. verdensis  appear to be larger in size (largest specimens measured reaching 19.3 mm CL and 19.2 mm CL, respectively) than those of C. longipes  (largest specimen measured 10.8 mm CL). Of the six species being treated here, C. polita  is characterised by having the largest measured individuals, with one specimen 25.9 mm CL.

Specimens collected by the Siboga Expedition from Indonesia and identified as C. abyssicola  by Tesch (1918) could not be found in the ZMA, where all other Siboga goneplacids were originally deposited. This record is provisionally recognised as correct as the species is known from that area.

Guinot (1989: 307) commented that in the form of the carapace and anterolateral teeth, C. abyssicola  was closest to C. verdensis  , but differed in having the teeth more spiniform and the chelae being short and globose. While this difference is usually valid for the structure of the anterolateral teeth, the form of the chela varies with size and sex and it is not a reliable character. As discussed earlier, the two species, however, differ in other characters.


University of Coimbra Botany Department


Universiteit van Amsterdam, Zoologisch Museum














Carcinoplax abyssicola ( Miers, 1885 )

Ng, Peter K. L. & Castro, Peter 2020

Carcinoplax specularis

CASTRO P. 2007: 640

Carcinoplax abyssicola

NG P. K. L. & GUINOT D. & DAVIE P. J. F. 2008: 80
CASTRO P. 2007: 623
GUINOT D. 1989: 305
GUINOT D. 1969: 526

Neopilumnoplax abyssicola

SERENE R. 1968: 90

Pilumnoplax abyssicola

GUINOT D. 1969: 526
SERENE R. 1968: 90
TESCH J. J. 1918: 155

Pilumnoplax abyssicola

WHITELEGGE T. 1900: 158

Pseudorhombila (Pilumnoplax) abyssicola

MIERS E. J. 1885: 588