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(Birgus latro), a decapod crustacean of the family Coenobitidae. The purse crab, which reaches 32 cm in length, lives on tropical islands of the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is able to climb trees and feeds primarily on the fruits of palms. The crab breathes through protuberances on the linings of the gill chambers, which function as lungs. The females migrate to the sea and deposit their developed eggs in the water, where the larvae emerge. The young crabs settle on the sea floor, and, like hermit crabs, they hide their soft abdomens in empty seashells. After emerging onto dry land, the crabs use mollusk shells to protect their abdomen. Mature purse crabs discard the shell and tuck their abdomen, now covered with hard plates, below the thorax. The meat of purse crabs is used as food.