Identification of Two Mysterious Land Hermit Crab Species: Coenobita longitarsis and C. pseudorugosus

The identity of Coenobita longitarsis, described in 1902, remained a mystery for over 120 years until its confirmation. Morphologically, this species has a slender and elongated body and appendages, making it easily distinguishable from other species. It primarily resides deep within island forests, often located 3-10 kilometers from the coast, and inhabits land snail shells, which may explain its infrequent discovery. Its distribution includes Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Guam.
Another species, C. pseudorugosus, described in 1988 with a type locality in Cebu, Philippines, also faced uncertainty regarding its accuracy after its publication. After examining specimens from Cebu and Indonesia, molecular evidence supported the confirmation of its status and distribution in this study. It closely resembles C. rugosus morphologically but can still be differentiated by male reproductive organs and the characters of the left third pereiopod. However, there is no direct phylogenetic relationship between the two species. Its distribution is in the Philippines and Indonesia. Due to the lack of specimens, this study could not confirm reported records from the Indian Ocean.

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