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FAQs about Hermit, Anomuran Crab Identification 2

Related Articles: Hermit Crabs, Crabs, Marine ScavengersFresh to Brackish Crabs

Related FAQs: Hermit ID 1, Hermit IDs 3, Hermit IDs 4, & Hermit Crabs 1Hermit Crabs 2, Hermit Crabs 3, Hermit Behavior, Hermit Compatibility, Hermit Selection, Hermit Systems, Hermit Feeding, Hermit Reproduction, Hermit Disease/Health, FAQs: By species: Calcinus laevimanus (Zebra, Left-handed Hermit), Clibanarius tricolor (Blue-Legs), Clibanarius vittatus (a common Gulf of Mexico hermit crab), Dardanus megistos (Shell-Breaking Reef, White-spot, Fuzzy Leg Hermit Crab)Paguristes cadenati (Scarlet, Red-Legged), Petrochirus diogenes (a and other Giant Hermit Crabs), & Anemone Hermits, Sponge/Staghorn/Coral house Hermits, Unknown/Wild-collected,
FAQs: By species: Calcinus laevimanus (Zebra, Left-handed Hermit), Clibanarius tricolor (Blue-Legs), Clibanarius vittatus (a common Gulf of Mexico hermit crab), Dardanus megistos (Shell-Breaking Reef, White-spot, Fuzzy Leg Hermit Crab)Paguristes cadenati (Scarlet, Red-Legged), Petrochirus diogenes (a and other Giant Hermit Crabs), & Anemone Hermits, Sponge/Staghorn/Coral house Hermits, Unknown/Wild-collected,
Land Hermit Crabs, Squat LobstersMicro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpMarine Scavengers Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Hey there!

Marine hermit crabs? ID, care  -- 08/27/07 This past weekend I was in Cape Cod, MA. Some friends and I were in the ocean (just ankle deep), and we saw a bunch of tiny hermit crabs in the water. They are only the size of my thumb nail, maybe slightly larger. Well of course we made the dumb decision to bring some home, and now I have 4 of them in a water bottle with salt water and sand and rocks in it. So far they are fine. I went to a pet store today and bought a bunch of stuff for them. But once I got home and did more research I am realizing to my horror that I don't think these are land hermit crabs like I was thinking. Can I keep them in captivity or will they die?? I bought a little plastic container and sand and a sponge for them, but I think they need to be fully submersed in salt water don't they?? Should I get a whole salt water aquarium system for them?? I'm not finding much info on how to care for Marine hermit crabs, and I'm afraid these cute little guys will be dead any day now!!!!!! Please help!!! Thanks. Natasha (If you need a picture of them to identify I can send one later.) <Hello Natasha. Identifying a hermit crab to species level is very difficult without a photo. But in the cooler parts of the North Atlantic then species of the genus Pagurus are most common, both along the North American and European coasts. So I'm assuming you have one of those. They are indeed fully aquatic hermit crabs, though they are well able to tolerate exposure to air for some time, and will scuttle about in very shallow water even with half their bodies exposed. But for long term care you will need to set them up a "coldwater marine" aquarium. This is not difficult. Firstly, you'll need a tank around the 10 gallon mark. Then you'll need a filter. I'd recommend a simple air-powered box filter filled with ceramic media and a bit of filter wool. There's no need for carbon or anything else. The aquarium needs to be filled with artificial seawater -- that is, water with about 35 grammes of *marine aquarium salt mix* added per litre of water. Using a hydrometer you need to aim for a specific gravity of about 1.027 at 18 degrees C, the maximum safe temperature for these crabs. Try and keep them cooler if you can. I have a little program called 'Brack Calc' on my web page ( http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/  ) that lets you relate the required salinity (35 g/l) with whatever temperature you have and the specific gravity you can directly measure. Beyond this, keeping hermit crabs is easy as they are quite hardy and adaptable. They are omnivores, mostly feeding on algae, organic detritus, and carrion. In the aquarium almost anything will be accepted, from algae pellets to raw seafood. Don't overfeed them though. Apart from the fact these animals don't need extra light and don't like warmth, in terms of basic care they are otherwise similar to tropical marine hermit crabs. Hope this helps, Neale>

Hermit Crab Possible Misidentification   8/19/07 * First let me say that your site really is great. When I buy aquarium books, I look for your names, period. Concerning this email, I would appreciate a response, but it need not be public (although I don't mind if it is). <We post all> I believe the photo in "Hermit Crabs, Use in the Marine Aquarium Hobby" (http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm) labeled *Phimochirus *[aka *Pylopagurus*]* holthuisi* (Provenzano, 1961), Red-striped Hermit, is really *Clibanarius vittatus* (Bosc, 1802), Thinstripe Hermit. * <Have tried to look just now... via Google mostly... to discern... Humann, does state that the Red-Stripe Hermit has "one claw greatly enlarged... movable pincer is white"... which in viewing the original (aquarium) image of mine is obviously not the case...> My reasons: 1. Color and Markings:* The photo you have in "Hermit Crabs, Use in the Marine Aquarium Hobby" (http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm) looks nothing like the photo in http://www.gsmfc.org/seamap/picture_guide/Hermit%20Crabs/phimochirus%20holthuisi.pdf, but does look like the photo in http://www.gsmfc.org/seamap/picture_guide/Hermit%20Crabs/clibanarius%20vittatus.pdf .* 2. Claws:* Even if the photos were of such poor quality that color and markings were not reproduced well, notice the one huge claw of *P. holthuisi*, and the matched claws of *C. vittatus*. I do not think the one crab in your photo just happened to have matched claws at that point in time because I have seen many photos on the web that are *supposed* to be *P. holthuisi*, and all of them with the same longitudinal stripes on the legs also have matched claws. Obviously, these photos are incorrectly labeled, also.* 3. Habitat:* *P. holthuisi* is "Found on shell, sand, mud and coral bottoms from 15 to 104 m." *C. vittatus* is "Common on harbor beaches and on borders of mud flats; rock jetties; water line to 22 m." Perusal of the web (your site and others) indicates that people who find hermit crabs looking like your *P. holthuisi* photo have found these guys very near the waterline, definitely not 15 m below it. * Elsewhere on Your Site * Some confusion in general: Note the entry in "FAQs about Hermit Crab Identification", http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitidfaqs.htm: * Re: hermit crab question 8/1/06 *Thanks for your patience. I believe that they are red striped hermit crabs. <Clibanarius vittatus?> * Spread to the Web * Interestingly enough, I believe the misidentification has spread to others on the web. You guys have a very powerful site! The whole thing is becoming circular. E.g., <Yes... perhaps too powerful... and circular...> http://www.saltcorner.com/sections/zoo/inverts/crustaceans/hermitcrabs/Pholthuisi.htmhas Bob Fenner's picture of (what I contend is) *C. vittatus*. It is a higher resolution photo of the one on your site, so people can more easily (incorrectly) identify their hermit crabs. <Will post today as our "daily pic"... Am assured here that your ID is correct> * Recommendation * If I am correct, I think you should at least do #1. 1. In "Hermit Crabs, Use in the Marine Aquarium Hobby" ( http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm), either change the picture or change the description. As you have pointed out elsewhere, *C. vittatus* does get rather large, 10 cm at least (Adam J. said he had one (actually, he said it was *P. holthuisi* in a 6" shell). 2. Add *C. vittatus* to your list of hermits. 3. You might want to go through the references to *P. holthuisi* and correct whatever was said about them. Thanks for considering this, Scott Allen Rauch -- Scott <Thanks much for this Scott... will addend/fix today. Sending notes to récif et al is going to be a bit more extracted task. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Atlantic Hermit Crab ID -- 06/20/07 Good morning, <<Hello Jason>> I picked up (literally) this hermit in Myrtle Beach over the weekend. <<Ah!...is about a 3-hour commute from my home here in Columbia>> He was in about 3-feet of water during low tide. He's currently in my QT and is doing fine. He's even eating a few pellets daily. <<Mmm, yes...voracious appetites>> He isn't very active during the day, but he's all over the place at night. He's quite quick too--look at those long legs! <<I see them...>> Do you have any idea what he is, or if he's reef safe? <<I believe what you have is Pagurus longicarpus or the Long-claw Hermit Crab. These are quite common along the Mid-Atlantic coast. It is a small crab and appears primarily to be a detritus feeder, but this hardly means it will prove reef-safe. But for the mostly commensal 'Acro' crabs (and these even bear watching, occasional removal) I don't put 'any' crabs in my system as they are too 'opportunistic' in their feeding behavior for my liking. If you like/find the crab interesting you can give it a try but keep a close eye out for problems. Also...as a temperate to sub-tropical species, placing in a tropical marine system will likely shorten its life-span>> Jason
<<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Atlantic Hermit Crab ID - 06/20/07 Thank you. <<Quite welcome>> I will probably place him in my sump or 'fuge to be on the safe side. Thanks,
<<Regards, EricR>>

ID of Hermit needed please:  Dardanus megistos   3/31/07 Hi, <Hi Wikus, Mich here.> Could you positively ID this crab for me please? I bought it a Clibanarius tricolor, but to be honest, it does not look like the pics I have seen. <Yeah... no, definitely not a Clibanarius tricolor.  Looks like a Dardanus megistos, which is not reef safe, is highly aggressive and predatory and can get up to 11.7 inches!!!   Many thanks
<Welcome!  Mich>

Hermit crab identification  - 03/24/07 Any chance you can ID this crab? I placed an order online, and this crab came in with the Nassarius snails I ordered, complete with Nassarius snail shell. It is devilishly quick. It scuttles left and right rather than forward. I am not sure if that helps. It has a sand colored appearance also. I currently have it residing in my sump, in a container with a mesh top so it won't escape. It is only 1/4-1/2". Thought or suggestions as to what I can do with it? <Enjoy it> If it wasn't going to hurt anything I was going to let it loose in the sump. Would it take out my pods I have in their or would it focus on detritus? <No way to tell, but I'd leave it there> If I put him in there should I add several empty shells? <A few would be a good idea> Thanks for the help! Brian <Mmm.... Might be Dardanus deformis... a/the "Rock Hermit Crab"... can get a bit too large... http://images.google.com/images?q=Dardanus%20deformis&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA&um=1&sa=N&tab=wi Bob Fenner>

Mystery Hermit   2/11/07 Hello, <Hey.> You guys run a great website that I use often. <Great.> However I have looked all over the sight to try to identify this hermit crab that I got in a group of dwarf blue hermits. He is a green color with a single vertical stripe going down each leg with white spots on his claws.   <Oohh sounds like Phimochirus holthuisi, I too received a juv. mixed in with some other hermits once.> he looks very similar to the dwarfs hermits.  The color of the green is similar to that of an emerald crab.  Sorry that I can't get a pic for you right now, I loaned my camera to a friend. <Google the name I gave you above, I willing to bet that's your crab.> I am worried that he might not be reef safe any ideas? <Mmm....the problem with the crab I named is not so much that he attacks sessile invertebrates but that it attains a rather hefty size and becomes a little clumsy.> So, far I haven't seen him going for corals or anything yet but he is only maybe 3/4 in shell included. Thanks for the help. <Anytime.> Steve
<Adam J.>

Hermit crab identification   1/16/07 Hello and thanks for reading my email.  I unwittingly brought home a resident of what I thought was an empty shell from vacation.  (How many hundreds of times do you hear this?!) <A bunch... even done it myself a few dozen times...!>    A week after returning home, I was oiling some of the shells when one of them started moving in the collection box--woops!  They certainly must be resilient little critters. <Oh yes> I've been searching online for information, and have learned that marine, land and "hybrid" hermit crabs all need very different care. <Yes... there are terrestrial, amphibious all the way to completely marine species> He/she has been nearly entirely hidden in his/her shell, but I read that holding the shell in the warmth of your hand might bring them out, and it did.  I'm attaching a couple of pictures I took in hopes that you can help me identify this fella.  I would gladly return him to his home beach, but I'm 1000 miles away. Sally Stephenson Frostburg State University Frostburg MD (nowhere near the ocean) <Yikes... yellowish eye stalks, bluish eyes, striped legs... see it here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm? Bob Fenner>
Re: hermit crab identification    1/17/06 Most closely resembles Phimochirus holthuisi to me, what little of him I've seen.  Does that mean he should be completely submerged in appropriately salty water, or does he need a "land" area as well? <This is an entirely aquatic species: http://www.gsmfc.org/seamap/picture_guide/Hermit%20Crabs/phimochirus%20holthuisi.pdf> Is temperature critical? <That it be stable... yes> The pet store gave me shrimp pellets, but so far he's shown no interest in them. Thanks,
<Read my friend. Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Hermit crab identification  10/26/06 Greetings, <Salutations> Recently I have become quite interested in aquatic Hermit Crabs, and I have been doing quite a bit of digging for information on them. It seems there is very little information on them available, outside of WWM. <Mmm... bunches of non-husbandry information re these anomurans in large libraries> I have also managed to pick up a few oddball Hermits from my LFS, which I have not been able to identify for the life of me. I've Googled, and I've Googled, and I've Googled.... <Not Google-able presently> But to no avail, I have not been able to ID them. Either I am not good at searching for things on google, or the photos/information are extremely hard to find/non-existent.     <Just not ready-referenced> I have included the pictures of the oddballs on this e-mail. I was hoping you guys could help ID them? I've included 5 pictures of 3 different types of unidentified hermits, labeled "A", "B", and "C". More pics on the way as well, I've got 2 others that I can not ID, but they are hard to photograph. Once I have gathered enough info and gained enough experience, I am considering starting a webpage for aquatic hermit crabs. There just doesn't seem to be any one webpage with enough info, pictures, and scientific names. Oh, and if Bob Fenner is reading this, you may remember me from IMAC! I was one of the puffer guys, and we also talked over e-mail a bit in the past. Regards, -John <Ahh! Pleased to make your re-acquaintance. Can't recall from my feeble memory what these might be... do "practice" setting them up on a rock... waiting patiently for their re-emergence to photograph with a bit more detail... and send along again. Bob Fenner, out away from references... in Thailand>
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