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Hermit crabs; neglected factors in taphonomy and paleoecology

Robert W. Frey
Hermit crabs; neglected factors in taphonomy and paleoecology
Palaios (1987) 2 (4): 313-322


Despite a wealth of literature on the antics and biology of hermit crabs, the stratinomic significance of these animals has scarcely been examined. Not only are the crabs important in ecology and paleoecology, but they are also instrumental in determining the condition and final burial sites of innumerable mollusc shells. The structure of molluscan taphocoenoses is altered thereby and is subject to misinterpretation in the fossil record. Hermit crabs in Georgia and other coastal settings demonstrate marked preferences for certain types of gastropod shells. Although specific shell selections are dictated partly by the diversity and abundance of available shells and may vary from one crab population to another, the invariable result is (1) a concentration of environmentally mixed shells within the crab population and (2) a modification of detrital shell assemblages otherwise governed by physical processes. Comparable biases may have been introduced as long ago as the Early Jurassic, when paguroid crabs appeared.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 2
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Hermit crabs; neglected factors in taphonomy and paleoecology
Author(s): Frey, Robert W.
Affiliation: Univ. Ga., Dep. Geol., Athens, GA, United States
Pages: 313-322
Published: 1987
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 58
Accession Number: 1988-020363
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: Univ. Ga. Mar. Inst., Contrib. No. 586
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, sketch map
N31°25'60" - N31°25'60", W81°15'00" - W81°15'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 1988
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