Cryptochiridae

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Cryptochiridae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Brachyura
Superfamily: Cryptochiroidea
Paul'son, 1875
Family: Cryptochiridae
Paul'son, 1875
Genera

21, See text

Cryptochiridae is a family of crabs known commonly as gall crabs or coral gall crabs. They live inside dwellings in corals and cause the formation of galls in the coral structure.[1][2] The family is currently placed in its own superfamily, Cryptochiroidea.

Gall crabs are sexually dimorphic, with males much smaller than females. Contrary to females, most males are free-living and "visit" females for mating.[1][3]

These crabs are most common in shallow waters in association with stony corals, but have also been found in mesophotic zones and deep waters.[4] They likely feed on mucus secreted by the coral galls, as well as various detritus. Some species are thought to be filter feeders. [1]

Because crab size is related to gall size, it is likely that the crabs form the galls, rather than living randomly in a dwelling within a coral. Related groups of gall crab taxa share a similar gall type, suggesting that the crabs influence the morphology of the galls.[5]

The family contains the following twenty-one genera:[6][7]

References[edit]