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 ?
According to Bertness (1980), shell utilization patterns are determined by the hermit crab preference for a shell species, gastropod shell availability in the environment and interspecific competition.
When a hermit crab is tucked into a shell it is fully protected by folding a cheliped completely across the opening.
This study shows that eelpouts, Tanner crabs, crangonids, hermit crabs, polychaetes, and echiuroids were the principal prey of Pacific cod collected in Pavlof Bay in 1995.
Remarks: AH the specimens were collected in shells of Melongena Fatula (Broderip & Sowerby, 1829) inhabited by the hermit crab Petrochirus californiensis together with the other porcellanids: Porcellana cancrisocialis and P.
Caitlin reaches into a tide pool and balances a tiny hermit crab on her fingertips.
nitidimanus was the most abundant hermit crab inhabiting the sand flat, accounting for 91.6% of all individuals.
(1998), on the other hand, focused on anomurans and found nine hermit crab species in the rocky shores of the Sao Sebastiao Channel, northern coast of the state of Sao Paulo.
A Spider crab B Lobster C Hermit crab D Sand crab 14.
That risk is even more pronounced for certain types of hermit crab, who 'remodel' their shells by removing some internal structures.
"I don't claim to know everything," a hermit crab in the center of the circle said, "but I do know many things.
When studying hermit crab behavior, it is necessary to provide shells of appropriate size for each individual in order to minimize shell-searching behavior (McClintock, 1985) and to ensure that in shell choice studies (e.g., Pechenik and Lewis, 2000; de la Haye et al., 2011; Pechenik et al., 2015b) the hermit crabs have an ideal shell to choose as an option.
Take HERMIT CRAB, 2018, in which two purple plush lobster claws dangle lifelessly from an orange cement mixer.