Abstract

Land hermit crabs (Coenobitidae) are widespread and abundant in Recent tropical and subtropical coastal environments, yet little is known about their fossil record. A walking trace, attributed to a land hermit crab, is described herein as Coenobichnus currani (new ichnogenus and ichnospecies). This trace fossil occurs in an early Holocene eolianite deposit on the island of San Salvador, Bahamas. The fossil trackway retains the distinctive right and left asymmetry and interior drag trace that are diagnostic of modern land hermit crab walking traces. The overall size, dimensions and shape of the fossil trackway are similar to those produced by the modern land hermit crab, Coenobita clypeatus, which occurs in the tropical western Atlantic region. The trackway was compared to other arthropod traces, but it was found to be distinct among the arthropod traces described from dune or other environments. The new ichnogenus Coenobichnus is proposed to accommodate the asymmetry of the trackway demarcated by left and right tracks. The new ichnospecies Coenobichnus currani is proposed to accommodate the form of the proposed Coenobichnus that has a shell drag trace.

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