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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2003 Jun;27(3):410-21.

Phylogenetic relationships within the coral crab genus Carpilius (Brachyura, Xanthoidea, Carpiliidae) and of the Carpiliidae to other xanthoid crab families based on molecular sequence data.

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Research and Collections Branch, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007, USA.


The coral crab genus Carpilius currently includes three widely distributed species that inhabit tropical coral reefs and adjacent waters. The relationship of Carpilius to other xanthoid crabs is unknown. Previously, carcinologists considered Carpilius to be allied with crabs of the family Xanthidae (e.g., Euryozius, Liagore, and Liomera), however, recent workers have considered it to be a monotypic genus within its own family, Carpiliidae. Mitochondrial 12S- and 16S-rDNA gene fragments confirm the monophyly and distinct status of the family Carpiliidae. Within the genus Carpilius, the Caribbean species C. corallinus is basal to the two Pacific species C. maculatus and C. convexus. The Pacific species are sister taxa, despite the greater morphological resemblance of C. corallinus to the Pacific C. convexus. The relationship of the Carpiliidae (Carpilius) to other xanthoid crabs is investigated, and results of a preliminary analysis of higher xanthoid relationships did not resolve the relationships of Carpiliidae, "Xanthidae," Menippidae, Trapeziidae, and Ocypodidae to one another. A Menippidae and Carpilius relationship could not be rejected, although a Liomera, Liagore, and Carpilius relationship was.

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