hermit crab


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

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
..... Click the link for more information.
 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.
..... Click the link for more information.
, 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 ?
The pageant has no imitators or competition," said Soifer, "but then again, there's not really a big demand or need for hermit crab pageants.
As soon as we saw the new Xia-Xia assortment, we knew that these little, interactive hermit crabs would be a big hit this holiday season," said Lisa Harnisch, Vice President, General Merchandising Manager, Toys"R"Us, U.
In the control treatment, a hermit crab was extracted from its shell, weighed, and then assigned to a weight class.
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.
Since it's difficult to determine the gender era hermit crab, pageant officials suspect other past winners may have been male too.
Julie said: "I read that Hermit crabs have been known to use things like bottles as makeshift homes so I figured Hermie would be sure to like a ceramic shell.
While on vacation in Cancun, the Wonder Pets take a break from their holiday to help a hermit crab who has outgrown his shell.
The lady skipper and owner of Highlander, known only as Heather, kept a dozen nice codling, fishing with long-flowing traces baited with rag and hermit crab, just off Blyth.
Hagadorn and Adolf Seilacher of Yale University now report that these tracks are very similar to the distinctive ones left by a hermit crab carrying a coiled shell.
QUIZ CHALLENGE: 1 Chianti; 2 To make blood clot on exposure to air; 3 Rupert Bear; 4 A fumarole; 5 The hermit crab.
To cool things off a bit the D'ARENBERG THE HERMIT CRAB VIOGNIER MARSANNE 2005 (Waitrose, pounds 7.
The group was down to three, including the Hermit Crab.