Paguristes puncticeps

Paguristes puncticeps is a species of crustacean, belonging to the class Malacostraca and order Decapoda. This hermit crab belongs to the family Diogenidae and genus Paguristes, which it shares with 120 other species. Specimens of this species are found in shallow waters, although we can find specimens up to 40 meters deep, in the western Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea and in the Gulf of Mexico.

The body of Paguristes puncticeps can reach 8 to 13 cm in total length, although we rarely see the entire body of the specimen, as it inserts part of its body inside empty snail shells, thus seeking protection. The specimen will carry the shell on its back all the time and only when it moults its skin and/or the shell becomes too small, it will look for a larger one.

It has two pincers of similar size between them, something not common within the Diogenidae family, where generally the left pincer is usually larger than the right one. The carapace, eye stalks and appendages are densely covered with white dots of different sizes. Another distinctive feature of Paguristes puncticeps compared to similar species is the absence of lateral spines on the rostrum of the specimen.

The body color of Paguristes puncticeps is deep red or dark brown, with a multitude of small white spots, as well as the presence of white hairs. On the face, its intense electric blue eyes stand out.

The feeding of Paguristes puncticeps, as with many other hermit crabs, is opportunistic and detrivorous.

It does not have a clear reproductive period, but reproduces throughout the year. Reproduction takes place at the moment when it molts its shell, at which time the female transfers the eggs to the lower part of its abdomen and the male fertilizes them. The eggs are carried by the female until hatching, when the larvae become part of the plankton.