hermit crab

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hermit crab,

a crustaceancrustacean
, primarily aquatic arthropod of the subphylum Crustacea. Most of the 44,000 crustacean species are marine, but there are many freshwater forms. The few groups that inhabit terrestrial areas have not been particularly successful in an evolutionary sense; most require
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 distinguished from true crabs by its long, soft, spirally coiled abdomen terminating in an asymmetrically hooked tail. Most hermit crabs protect this vulnerable portion of their bodies by occupying the empty shells of periwinkles, whelks, and other gastropod mollusks. A few find other homes; for example, a species that inhabits the Indian Ocean lives in sections of old bamboo cane. When the hermit crab grows out of one shell it seeks a larger one, fighting for it if challenged. Sea anemones often attach themselves to these shells, obtaining free transportation and scraps of food in return for protecting their hosts. Hermit crabs are common beach scavengers in most parts of the world.

Most species are marine, but some tropical forms, such as the coconut, or robber, crab, Birgus latro, are largely terrestrial. This species, the largest hermit crab, generally reaches over 1 ft (30 cm) in length. It becomes increasingly terrestrial and develops heavy armor as it matures into an adult, at which stage it is able to completely discard its adopted shell. With its great pincers it has been known to crack coconuts, which it obtains by climbing palm trees.

Hermit crabs are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, subphylum Crustacea, order Decapoda.

hermit crab

[′hər·mət ‚krab]
(invertebrate zoology)
The common name for a number of marine decapod crustaceans of the families Paguridae and Parapaguridae; all lack right-sided appendages and have a large, soft, coiled abdomen.

hermit crab

any small soft-bodied decapod crustacean of the genus Pagurus and related genera, living in and carrying about the empty shells of whelks or similar molluscs
References in periodicals archive ?
When three or more terrestrial hermit crabs congregate, they quickly attract dozens of others eager to trade up.
Here's how it works: Hermit crabs wear their skeletons on the outside.
Desiccation tolerance of four sympatric tropical intertidal hermit crabs (Decapoda: Anomura).
Based on a Carnivale theme, Xia-Xia (pronounced Shah-Shah, rhymes with Cha-Cha) consists of four colorful, collectible hermit crabs that love to dance and play.
That Cambrian arthropods had some sort of behavioral adaptation for coping with times out of water is not so surprising, but for them to be using shells like hermit crabs nearly 500 million years ago is amazing.
My cousins think they're gross and none of my friends have hermit crabs, but I love them,'' said Skye, a fourth-grader who splits her time living with her grandmother in Valencia and her grandfather in Newhall.
Cepia LLC May See Lightning Strike Twice with New Robotic Hermit Crab Toys
Look for books or articles in your library about hermit crabs.
The study, which looked at the reactions of hermit crabs to small electric shocks, was carried out by Professor Bob Elwood and Mirjam Appel from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's.
Between soccer and baseball games and running races we were engaged in poetry and essay competitions, amateur dramatics, trekking and sand dunes as far as mystical Kenfig pool and beachcombing for starfish, hermit crabs and cuttlefish, all of which could win us points for our house.
ABSTRACT Hermit crabs select shells based on size, weight, species of gastropod, and shell condition.
Purple starfish, orange starfish, anemone of all colors, hermit crabs, blue crabs, little skitter fish of some sort, mussels - you name it, the mid-summer pools were teaming with life.