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, has a body that may reach 16 in. (40 cm) in length, with legs that span 3 ft (.91 m) or more. 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. Coconut crabs also have been observed preying on birds as large as a booby.

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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Other species of hermit crabs such as Pagurus criniticornis and Pagurus brevidactylus were more abundant in Anchieta than in Guarapari.
That risk is even more pronounced for certain types of hermit crab, who 'remodel' their shells by removing some internal structures.
This obviously esteemed speaker was not a hermit crab of tomorrow but, rather, one of yesterday, the bespectacled, the lauded, the beloved industrialist and thinker Dr.
Most of the hermit crabs (Pagurus longicarpus Say, 1817) at our study site were found living in periwinkle (Littorina littorea) shells (Pechenik and Lewis, 2000; Pechenik et al., 2015a; SCG and JAP, pers.
"Like a***holes?" "They love a***holes." Well then, hermit crabs, fill yer boots.
Carrier shells, hermit crabs and the many different kinds of scavengers and decomposers in the natural world are the very first adherents, proponents and practitioners of the three Rs of environmental waste reduction and management control.
They were everywhere and, being almost flat, worse than useless for even the most desperate hermit crab. The shell is almost circular with a moderately pronounced wing at the hinge.
Hermit crabs are a primary macrobenthos species and several hermit crab species are distributed in this estuary, but only Pagurus minutus is distributed widely from the upper reach to the mouth of the estuary (see Results) throughout the year (T.
Hermit crabs use shells as their protective armor, while fish use shells to hide from predators.
In the eastern Bering Sea, the gravimetric composition of the diet was dominated by hermit crabs (Paguridae; 38.4%W) and all other crabs combined (35.4%W).
Professor Elwood's previous research showed that prawns and hermit crabs respond in a way consistent with pain.
We also saw small creatures such as nudibranch, leaf fish and hermit crabs. I was overwhelmed by the vast stretches of undamaged and unbleached colourful coral.