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Sancia van der Meij

Dr. S.E.T. (Sancia) van der Meij, Research associate / managing editor - Taxonomy and Systematics


Email: sancia.vandermeij@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31 (0)71 7519 613
Room number: Vondellaan


My research focusses on coral-associated organisms. I am mainly interested in the origin and diversity of reef-associated taxa, and the evolutionary history of the relationship between corals and their associated organism. As a model taxon I mostly work on coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae), with forays into other invertebrate taxa.

I did my PhD (Leiden University) at Naturalis, and afterwards worked at Naturalis as a Research Fellow. I then relocated to Oxford (UK) to work as a Museum Research Fellow at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Currently I am an Assistant Professor (tenure track) at the University of Groningen, where I am working on all aspects related to the diversity of associated fauna on coral reefs.

Editorial duties

Described taxa

  • Cabirnalia Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Cabirnalia nausicaa Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Danalia cervix Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Danalia falsicrura Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Danalia galea Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Danalia vesica Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Sacculina quadrialata Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Spathione Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Spathione asprosdovrima Boyko & van der Meij, 2018
  • Lithoscaptus tuerkayi Van der Meij, 2017
  • Galacticus Klompmaker, Portell & van der Meij, 2016 (ichnogenus)
  • Galacticus duerri Klompmaker, Portell, van der Meij, 2016 (ichnospecies)
  • Montemagrechiridae Klompmaker, Portell & van der Meij, 2016
  • Fizesereneia panda Van der Meij, 2015
  • Fungicola syzygia Van der Meij, 2015
  • Lithoscaptus semperi Van der Meij, 2015
  • Opecarcinus cathyae Van der Meij, 2014
  • Lioconcha rumphii Van der Meij, Moolenbeek & Dekker, 2010
  • Lioconcha arabaya Van der Meij, Moolenbeek & Dekker, 2010
  • Lioconcha lamprelli Moolenbeek, Dekker & van der Meij, 2008


Research interest

I am interested in coral-associated organisms, in particular gall crabs (Cryptochiridae).


scleractinia, cryptochiridae, (co-)speciation, phylogeny reconstruction, host-specificity, biogeography, biodiversity, taxonomy, systematics

Current research topics






not applicable

2015 Estefania Velilla Perdomo (VU University Amsterdam) - Effect of coral reef degradation on host specific larval settlement. Literature thesis.

2014 Kaj van Tienderen (Utrecht University) - Infestation patterns and population genetic structure of galls crabs (Cryptochiridae) inhabiting corals (Scleractinia) along the Curacao coast.

2010 Fabi Fliervoet (Leiden University) - An analysis of biodiversity and distribution mapping of Acropora corals in Eastern Indonesia over time (1930-1990s).

2010 Tim Reijman (Leiden University) - An analysis of biodiversity and distribution mapping of Acropora corals in Eastern Indonesia over time (1930-1990s).

2010 Willeke Ros (Leiden University) - An analysis of biodiversity and distribution mapping of Acropora corals in Eastern Indonesia over time (1930-1990s).

2009 Rémon Visser (Leiden University) - An analysis of biodiversity and distribution mapping of Acropora corals in Eastern Indonesia over time (1930-1990s).

Available student projects

Public outreach


In press
Meij SET van der, ML Johnson & S De Grave. Reproductive strategies of the crinoid-associated shrimps Cristimenes commensalis (Borradaile, 1915) and Pontoniopsis comanthi Borradaile, 1915 (Crustacea : Palaemonidae). Crustacean Research
Boyko CB & SET van der Meij. A trifecta of Swiftian symbioses: stony corals, gall crabs and their parasites (Scleractinia; Brachyura: Cryptochiridae; Isopoda: Epicaridea and Cirripedia: Rhizocephala). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx115 Article
Meij SET van der, F Benzoni, ML Berumen & T Naruse. New distribution records of the gall crab Opecarcinus cathyae van der Meij, 2014 (Decapoda: Brachyura: Cryptochiridae) from the Red Sea, Maldives and Japan. Marine Biodiversity 
Soliman T, JD Reimer, I Kawamura, SET van der Meij, BT Reijnen & G Paulay. Description of the juvenile form of the sea cucumber Thelenota anax H. L. Clark, 1921. Marine Biodiversity 
doi: http://rdcu.be/yKW0
Meij SET van der, SGA Draisma & Z Waheed. Multiple observations of the sea anemone Phyllodiscus semoni Kwietniewski, 1897 (Actiniaria: Aliciidae) from Sabah, Borneo represent first records for Malaysia. Regional Studies in Marine Science 18: 135-138.
doi: 10.1016/j.rsma.2018.02.003 PDF
Moorsel GWNM van & SET van der Meij (2018) The stony coral Agaricia tenuifolia Dana, 1848 as a new gall crab host (Decapoda: Cryptochiridae). Nauplius 26: e2018002. Article

Alamura A, BW Hoeksema, SET van der Meij & D Huchon (2017) Molecular diversity of benthic ctenophores (Coeloplanidae). Scientific reports 7: 6365.
doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06505-4.
Hoeksema BW, M van Beusekom, HA ten Hove, VN Ivanenko, SET van der Meij & GWNM van Moorsel (2017) Helioseris cucullata as a host coral at St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean. Marine Biodiversity 47: 71-78. 
doi: 10.1007/s12526-016-0599-6
Meij SET van der (2017) The coral genus Caulastraea Dana, 1846 (Scleractinia, Merulinidae) as a new host for gall crabs (Decapoda, Cryptochiridae), with the description of Lithoscaptus tuerkayi sp. nov. 
Crustaceana 90: 1027-1038.
Meij SET van der, BT Reijnen & JD Reimer (2017) Observations of coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae) in the intertidal zone of Odo Beach (Okinawa, Japan). Fauna Ryukyuana 37: 7-9. PDF
Reijnen BT & SET van der Meij (2017) Coat of many colours - DNA reveals polymorphism of mantle patterns and colouration in Caribbean Cyphoma Röding, 1798 (Gastropoda, Ovulidae). PeerJ 5: e3018.
doi: 10.7717/peerj.3018
Tienderen KM van & SET van der Meij (2017) Extreme mitochondrial variation in the Atlantic gall crab Opecarcinus hypostegus (Decapoda: Cryptochiridae) reveals adaptive genetic divergence over Agaricia coral hosts. Scientific Reports 7: 39461.
doi: 10.1038/srep39461

Klompmaker AA, RW Portell & SET van der Meij (2016) Trace fossil evidence of coral-inhabiting crabs (Cryptochiridae) and its implications for growth and paleobiogeography. Scientific Reports 6: 23443.
doi: 10.1038/srep23443
Meij SET van der & AM Nieman (2016) Old and new DNA unweave the phylogenetic position of the eastern Atlantic gall crab Detocarcinus balssi (Monod, 1956) (Decapoda: Cryptochiridae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 54: 189-196.
doi: 10.1111/jzs.12130
Meyers-Muñoz MA, G van der Velde, SET van der Meij, BEMW Stoffels, T van Alen, Y Tuti & BW Hoeksema (2016) The phylogenetic position of a new species of Plakobranchus from West Papua, Indonesia (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia, Sacoglossa). ZooKeys 594: 73-98.
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.594.5954
Stoffels BEMW, SET van der Meij, BW Hoeksema, J van Alphen, T van Alen, MA Meyers-Muñoz, NJ de Voogd, Y Tuti & G van der Velde (2016) Phylogenetic relationships within the Phyllidiidae (Opisthobranchia, Nudibranchia). ZooKeys 605: 1-35.
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.605.7136
Tienderen KM van & SET van der Meij (2016) Occurrence patterns of coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae) over depth intervals in the Caribbean. PeerJ 4: e1794.
doi: 10.7717/peerj.1794
Vehof J, SET van der Meij, M Türkay & C Becker (2016) Female reproductive morphology of coral-inhabiting gall crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Cryptochiridae). Acta Zoologica 97: 117-126. 
doi: 10.1111/azo.12111
Meij SET van der, CHJM Fransen, LR Pasman & BW Hoeksema (2015) Phylogenetic ecology of gall crabs (Cryptochiridae) as associates of mushroom corals (Fungiidae). Ecology and Evolution 5: 5770-5780. 
doi: 10.1002/ece3.1808PDF
Meij SET van der (2015) Evolutionary diversification of coral-dwelling gall crabs (Cryptochiridae). PhD thesis, Leiden University, 216 pages. ISBN: 9789065191007.

Meij SET van der (2015) Rediscovery of Fizesereneia tholia Kropp, 1994  (Decapoda: Cryptochiridae). Crustaceana 88: 741-745.
doi: 10.1163/15685403-00003437 PDF
Meij SET van der (2015) A new gall crab species (Brachyura, Cryptochiridae) associated with the free-living coral Trachyphyllia geoffroyi (Scleractinia, Merulinidae). ZooKeys 500: 61-72.
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.500.9244
Meij SET van der, KM van Tienderen & BW Hoeksema (2015) A mesophotic record of the gall crab Opecarcinus hypostegus from a Curaçaoan reef. Bulletin of Marine Science 91: 205-206. 
Meij SET van der, ML Berumen & G Paulay (2015) A new species of Fizesereneia Takeda & Tamura, 1980 (Crustacea: Brachyura: Cryptochiridae) from the Red Sea and Oman. Zootaxa 3931: 585-595. 
Meij SET van der (2015) Host relations and DNA reveal a cryptic gall crab species (Crustacea: Decapoda: Cryptochiridae) associated with mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae). Contributions to Zoology 84: 39-57.
Waheed Z, F Benzoni, SET van der Meij, TI Terraneo & BW Hoeksema (2015) Scleractinian corals (Fungiidae, Agariciidae and Euphylliidae) of Pulau Layang-Layang, Spratly Islands, with a note on Pavona maldivensis (Gardiner, 1905). ZooKeys 517: 1-37.
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.517.9308 
Meij SET van der & CD Schubart (2014) Monophyly and phylogenetic origin of the gall crab family Cryptochiridae (Decapoda: Brachyura). Invertebrate Systematics 28: 491-500. 
doi: 10.1071/IS13064
Meij SET van der (2014) A new species of Opecarcinus Kropp & Manning, 1987 (Crustacea: Brachyura: Cryptochiridae) associated with the stony corals Pavona clavus (Dana, 1846) and P. bipartita Nemenzo, 1980 (Scleractinia: Agariciidae). Zootaxa 3869: 44–52.
doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.3869.1.4
Meij SET van der (2014) Host species, range extensions, and an observation of the mating system of Atlantic shallow-water gall crabs (Decapoda: Cryptochiridae). Bulletin of Marine Science 90: 1001-1010.
doi: 10.5343/bms.2014.1017 PDF 
Meij SET van der & BT Reijnen (2014) The curious case of Neotroglocarcinus dawydoffi (Brachyura, Decapoda): biogeographic patterns resulting from isolation.Systematics and Biodiversity 12: 503-512.
Hoeksema BW & SET van der Meij (2013) Editorial: corals, reefs and marine biodiversity. Marine Biodiversity 43: 1-6. 
PDF (Editorial for the Special Issue of Marine Biodiversity on "Biodiversity of Coral Reefs")
Hoeksema BW & SET van der Meij (2013) Gall crab city: an aggregation of endosymbiotic crabs inhabiting a colossal colony of Pavona clavusCoral Reefs 32: 59.
Meij SET van der & BW Hoeksema (2013) Distribution of gall crabs inhabiting mushroom corals on Semporna reefs, Malaysia. Marine Biodiversity 43: 53-59. 
Oijen MJP van & SET van der Meij (2013) The types of Osteoglossum formosum Müller & Schlegel, 1840 (Teleostei, Osteoglossidae). Zootaxa 3722: 361-371. 

Hoeksema BW, SET van der Meij & CHJM Fransen (2012) The mushroom coral as a habitat. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 92: 647-663.

Meij SET van der (2012) Host preferences, colour patterns and distribution records of Pseudocryptochirus viridis Hiro, 1938 (Decapoda, Cryptochiridae). Crustaceana 85: 769-777. 

Meij SET van der & BT Reijnen (2012) First observations of attempted nudibranch predation by sea anemones. Marine Biodiversity 42: 281-283. 


Reijnen BT, SET van der Meij & LP van Ofwegen (2011) Fish, fans and hydroids: host species of pygmy seahorses. ZooKeys 103: 1-26.

Hoeksema BW, J van der Land, SET van der Meij, LP van Ofwegen, BT Reijnen, RWM van Soest & NJ de Voogd (2011) Unforeseen importance of historical collections as baselines to determine biotic change of coral reefs: the Saba Bank case. Marine Ecology - An Evolutionary Perspective 32: 135-141. 

Meij SET van der & RR Visser (2011) The Acropora humilis group (Scleractinia) of the Snellius expedition (1929-30). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 59: 9-17.


Meij SET van der, RG Moolenbeek & H Dekker (2010) The Lioconcha castrensis species group (Bivalvia: Veneridae); with the description of two new species. Molluscan Research 30: 117-124.
PDF + Addendum

Fransen CHJM & SET van der Meij (2010) First record of a pontoniine shrimp (Caridea, Palaemonidae) in association with a boring bivalve of the genus Spengleria (Bivalvia, Euheterodonta, Gastrochaenidae). Crustaceana 83: 1391-1400.  

Meij SET van der, Suharsono & BW Hoeksema (2010) Long-term changes in coral assemblages under natural and anthropogenic stress in Jakarta Bay (1920-2005). Marine Pollution Bulletin 60: 1442-1454. 


Meij SET van der
, RG Moolenbeek & BW Hoeksema (2009) Decline of the Jakarta Bay molluscan fauna linked to human impact. Marine Pollution Bulletin 59: 101-107. 


Moolenbeek RG, H Dekker & SET van der Meij (2008) Lioconcha lamprelli spec. nov. (Bivalvia: Veneridae) from Australia. Zoologische Mededelingen 82: 627-630.


Meij SET van der (2007) Opmerkelijke vondst: tropische tapijtschelp aan de Normandische kust. Spirula 355: 38-39. 


Meij SET van der
 & CJ Camphuysen (2006) Distribution and diversity of whales and dolphins (Cetacea) in the southern North Sea: 1970-2005. Lutra 49: 3-28. 


Please contact the author when you are interested in one of the articles above and it is not available online or in the repository [Repository].