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FAQs about Hermit, Anomuran Crab Identification 3

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

Related FAQs: Hermit ID 1, Hermit IDs 2, 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,
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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,

Ever feel that the weight of the world is upon your shoulders? Me too.

Marine hermit crab ID  9/2/08 Hello! <Hi there> With the help of all this wonder information you have here, I have set up and cycled my 14 gallon BioCube, and this weekend (after it cycled and the levels were right) I added some hermits. The problem is, I've run into a wall trying to ID a couple of them. The resources here led me to ID the majority of the crabs (p. cadenati, c. tricolor, s. seurati, and c. vittatus). But searching here and elsewhere on the net hasn't yielded results for a few of my guys. I want to know the species to know how to research them and possibly get some idea of how the may act and how large they might grow. I think that perhaps Mercury could be a c. snelliusu? the coloring is similar but not exact. He is beautiful (and my favorite): http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q114/lili_acb/DSCN3778.jpg <Perhaps this Clibanarius...> Megara looks exactly like my c. vittatus except his stripes are brown/white, not black/white. Is this a variety of c. vittatus or is he something different, such as c. rhabdodactylus perhaps? Sorry the picture is not excellent, he is very tiny:, solo in pic #1, the top in #2: http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q114/lili_acb/DSCN3745.jpg http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q114/lili_acb/DSCN3728.jpg <Maybe C. zebra...> Lastly I'm drawing a complete blank for my largest, Osmium. Perhaps one of the Dardanus? I am especially interested by the black/white stripped antennae and the red dots down the front of the pinchers: http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q114/lili_acb/DSCN3720.jpg <Mmm, a Diogenid of some sort... will likely consume all the others in time> Thank you very much for taking the time to read this! Caroline <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Strange Crustacean: Need More Information - 7/11/08 Hi. My name's Brian, <Hi Brian, Lynn here this afternoon.> ..and I recently went to South Padre for the second time, <What a great place that is!> ..and once again I caught this strange crustacean. I caught one on my first trip to SP and spent days trying to identify it on the internet but never found anything, and the same thing this time...I Googled "sand flea", "sea lice", South Padre crustaceans", but could never find what I was looking for. <Yep, that's frustrating.> It surely can't be a new species because I saw several of them and I can't be the only one who's come across one. But anyways, the crustacean looked somewhat similar to a horseshoe crab. It was about 1 inch long with a thin tail that was a couple of inches long. It was a pale white color, had several overlapping segments to its carapace, and I couldn't find any eyes on it. On the bottom it had, I believe six legs, and each leg was like a small crab pincher. Please help me identify this creature...I really really REALLY wanna know what it is! <Me too! In all the years I've been going to the Texas coast, I've never seen anything quite like what you've described. I looked around, did some research and finally asked a nice fellow from the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles for some help. Unfortunately, he needed more information. He said that what you saw could be anything from a dead Mole crab with its thin abdomen extended out behind it, to a large isopod of some sort. Here's a link that shows a bit more regarding Mole crabs (Emerita spp.): http://www.diatribune.com/marine-life-series-mole-crabs . The creature also sounds a bit like a Cumacean, but I've never heard of one that large and besides, they have more than 6 legs. Here's a link with more information regarding Cumaceans: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumacea. Unfortunately, at this point, I'd really need a good close-up photo in order to have any chance at getting an ID for you.> I wasn't able to get a very decent picture, the one we got is blurry, and my step-dad isn't letting me have it for some reason. <Well Brian, the next time you go back to Padre Island be sure to look around for more of the little critters. You might want to see if your camera has a 'Macro' mode/setting, usually indicated by a small flower or daisy-like icon. In macro mode, you should be able to get some good shots. At that time, please do send them along. I'd love to solve this little mystery! Take care, -Lynn>

Re: Strange Crustacean: Likely Mole Crab - 7/11/08 Hello again. <Hi Brian!> So this time I've included a picture, it's still blurry but it was the best one out of five, and in conjunction with my description you can see a little better what I was talking about. <Yep, thanks for sending that along. It makes all the difference.> I looked up more pictures of both of your suggestions, and I think the creature I caught was likely some kind of mole crab <I agree. It definitely looks like a Mole or Sand crab of some sort -- something in the Superfamily Hippoidea, possibly in the Family Albuneidae.> ..(although it wasn't dead, because it was crawling around in my hand), the only difference was that most of the pictures I found of mole crabs didn't have the long thin tail I described (which you can make out in my photo). <Interestingly enough, I've seen Mole crabs that look very similar. The only difference is that what looks like a tail is actually a pair of antennae on the head. Take a look at this photo: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/sertc/images/photo%20gallery/Albunea.jpg . At first glance, it looks like the narrower end on the right *should* be the head, but it's not. It fools the eye a bit. Here's another link with more information on Mole crabs in this Family: http://www.crustacea.net/crustace/anomura/www/albunei.htm. They're neat looking little critters, aren't they!> But for now, I'm gonna assume that I caught a mole crab....but let me know if you have any other opinions. <I think we've got it!> Thanks for the help. <You're very welcome and thanks again for sending in the photo! Take care, -Lynn>

Dardanus venosus in my tank!??! Maybe - 5/2/08 Dear WetWebMedia crew, Hello again. <Hello Sherry> I'm not sure how this hermit got in my tank, but is it Dardanus venosus, the Starry-eyed Hermit Crab, which grows 3-5 inches? <I'm sorry, but I can't see the details well enough to make that determination. Did it hitchhike in on rock from Florida, the Bahamas, or the Caribbean?> It has blue eyes, <Do these have the distinctive star patterned (pseudo-)pupils?> ..lavender claws and it is bristly. Currently it is about 1" from claw to claw, or leg to leg, however you measure. If it is a starry-eyed hermit, how long may I expect it to stay small and relatively harmless? <Growth rate will depend on water parameters and how well it's fed. How harmless it is, depends on what you have/value within your system. It's also related to the relative size, speed, and accessibility of its potential prey items. If you have a tank loaded with very small fish and snails it could already be of a threatening size. If, however, it's in a tank with very large fish, it wouldn't be too much of an issue. If it is indeed Dardanus venosus, it should only be in large, fish-only systems.> My son saw it pinch a Zoanthid polyp, but besides that it is a good scavenger. <I bet it is!> Best Sherry
<Take care, -Lynn>

Re: Dardanus venosus in my tank!??! Maybe - 5/2/08 Hello, <Hi Sherry> I just wrote to you about this crab, and then he was nice enough to walk across the sand so I could take a couple of more pictures. These are my three best pictures of him. It's hard to get a good picture, but I think you can see the leg colors, blue eyes, etc... Any idea what it is? <Unfortunately, there are many possibilities. Without being able to see more detail or know where it came from, I really couldn't tell you with any certainty. My best recommendation is to look through the photos at the links below for comparison. I'd also recommend that you keep a sharp eye on the little fellow if you decide to keep it. The important thing about hermits is that even those that are generally considered harmless have the potential to prey on/pick at some of the favorable biodiversity within a system, including snails. They're also quite bold when it comes to removing/robbing food from corals - sometimes to the point of the coral's decline. Hermits are neat, but opportunistic little creatures whose threat potential increases with size, crowding, and lack of sufficient food. Keeping them well fed can help deter predation to some degree, but the potential risk is still there. Here are the links I mentioned earlier: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm This link is in French, but it has some excellent photos with species names included. http://www.recif.be/article/hermit.htm > -Sherry <Take care, -Lynn>

Elegant Hermit Crab, coral abrasion   4/19/08 Hello Guys, <Scott> I just bought a beautiful hermit crab which I believe to be Aniculus elegans, the elegant hermit crab. This ID is based solely on looking at photos on the web and noting that most, but not all, of the sites identify him thusly. A few think he is a Hairy Hermit Crab, Dardanus Sp., including my LFS where I bought it, That Fish Place. The crab's colors match EXACTLY the pink and maroon coralline algae on its shell, and the tips of his hairs are turquoise. The crab is very beefy, i.e., all the outside legs are thick and strong looking, which doesn't come through at all on any photo I have seen. My questions: 1. Is he Aniculus elegans; or can you point me to some web resource that will help me identify him - that does not appear when you google "Aniculus elegans" OR ("A. elegans" AND Aniculus)? <I do think this ID is correct> 2. How often should I give him some fish or chicken? <No chicken... too fatty, hard to digest...> I am concerned that he is not getting enough food (due to his exoskeleton, I cannot see if he is skinny). He is rather lethargic compared to all my other hermit crabs (three thin striped plus lots of reef janitors). He grabs and eats VERY sloppily the fish and chicken I give him, but I would expect him to be scouring my rocks looking for coral. <I would offer this animal aquatic-based proteinaceous food purposely 2-3 times a week. Maybe via tongs...> From the book, *Life and Death of Coral Reefs* Edited by Charles Birkeland, chapter 4, *Bioerosion and Coral-Reef Growth: A Dynamic Balance*, by Peter W. Glynn, Page 79: Two species of hermit crabs that feed on live coral produce large amounts of calcareous sediment when they scrape corals to remove soft tissues (Fig. 4-1). The average mass of coral abraded by a small hermit crab (*Trizopagurus magnificus* [Bouvier]) was about 10 mg ind.¯¹ day¯¹, and for a large hermit crab (*Aniculus elegans* Stimpson) about 1 g ind.¯¹ day¯¹ (Glynn et al., 1972). Relating hermit crab population densities and erosion rates, it was found that *Trizopagurus* and *Aniculus* respectively were responsible for the generation of about 1 and 0.1 metric tons of coral sediment per hectare per year on a fringing reef in Panama (Table 4-2). Since this rate of coral abrasion by hermit crabs has not been reported elsewhere, it is possible that these high levels of erosion are unique to the eastern Pacific. <Wow!> Grace and Peace, Scott <I would keep an eye on this (and all other hermits, true crabs...) vis a vis your stony corals. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Dardanus deformis, Hermit ID  3/30/08 Hello, <<Hi Mike.>> I love your web site, its helped me a lot in the past. <<Glad to hear it.>> I bought what I thought was three blue legged hermit crabs from my LFS a couple days ago and I thought that one of the hermits had just lost some color. Today I really checked the one out and he is definitely not a blue leg. He has white legs with tan marks and white claws. I read through the hermit ID page and I think there was one that may match him, you called it a "Rock Hermit Crab". Will he bother my corals (Xenia, Caulerpa, and some button polyps), inverts Feather Dusters, Flame Scallop, multiple Brittlestars, Blue Tuxedo Urchin, Banded Coral Shrimp, and a pink/green sea cucumber), or my fish (Fire Dartfish, Yellow Tang, Ocellaris Clownfish, and a Starry Dragonet). Should I take him back to the LFS? I also have a tank with a Yellow Banded Pipe Fish, a black brittlestar, and a Sexy Anemone shrimp. There are no corals in this tank. Would he be better suited for this tank? <<Okay Mike after seeing the photo, which I'll say as a disclaimer is not the best way to ID, I am in agreement that your specimen does resemble a Dardanus deformis aka 'Rock Hermit Crab.' As far as safety goes, you do have some sensitive critters in there and Dardanus deformis does get to be on the rather large size'¦as with all hermit keep that old phrase in mind'¦opportunistic omnivore. Perhaps returning him before he gets to large would be the wise choice. >> Thank you for all your help! -Mike A.
<<Adam J.>>

Hermit Crab ID -- Family: Paguridae - 2/26/08 Hello! <Hi Laurie!> If you would be able to answer a question about a hermit crab ID that would be great. <I'll sure try!> One of my coworkers brought it to me after a mini-scuba diving trip this weekend. <Mmmmm, not such a good thing to do. These are better left in the wild. Not to mention that it might very well be illegal!> It is currently in a fish only set up with 3 other pretty peaceful crabs of the same size (2-3 inches). The only reason I am inquiring about this crab is because of the color (red), and a past experience with a crab I bought from a LFS that told me how "peaceful" the crab was. Only to find it trying to catch fish mid-swim to eat it (successful once before he was returned). <Yikes!> That one I have come to figure the "scarlet hermit crab" as it was sold to me as, was actually a "white spotted hermit crab". <Double yikes! Dardanus megistos can grow to a very large size and is a definite threat to fish. It's an attractive, but aggressive hermit.> So getting back to my main question, would you be able to ID the crab in the photo, <Heeee! I wish I had a penny for every reddish/brownish hermit out there! Complicating matters is that I don't know where this hermit is from, or if it was taken from the ocean, or the beach. Location can make all the difference in identification. The shell it's in looks very much like Strombus pugilis or Strombus alatus, aka the Fighting Conch from Florida/Gulf of Mexico, but I could be wrong. Please see this link for comparison (note the degree of variation within the species): http://www.jaxshells.org/strombss.htm Unfortunately, there are just too many possibilities to give you an ID to species level. The best I can do is tell you that since it appears that the right claw is larger than the left, then it's likely in the family Paguridae.> ..and if so, the common temperament of this crab? In my tank I have a Diamond Goby, pair of False Percula Clowns, and Chalk Basslet whom I'd really like to keep alive in that tank and not worry every night they might become dinner to this newcomer. <Understandable. One thing I can tell you from personal experience is that I don't trust large hermits. They tend to be opportunistic creatures with voracious appetites. Keeping them well fed could help deter possible predation issues, but there are no guarantees. Please see this link and those at the top of the page for more information and photo comparison: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm > Thanks Again! Laurie <You're very welcome, and good luck! Take care, -Lynn>

Hermit Crabs,  ID...   02/01/2008 Hi! <<Hello, Andrew today>> I bought 3 hermit crabs from the LFS. I think they might be the Coral Hermit Crab (D. tinctor). Blue eyes, body is not bristly like the Starry eyed, so I'm pretty sure its not that. They are quite large, about 3-4 inches in shell length. Anyways, my question is about the 4th one I got (The guy at the LFS thought it was an empty shell and gave it to me.. much to my surprise, it was gone from where I place it the night before and lo and behold! It was a crab!) <<A nice surprise>> Went back to the LFS, paid for it, and thought all was well. Well, all is well, kind of. It looks like a C. vittatus hermit crab. <<An attached photo would of enabled us to confirm>> The other 3 have been happily climbing around everywhere, munching on algae, picking up the crushed coral and doing what I can only describe as, scraping off particulates. However, this C. vittatus is not moving around a lot. It tends to like to burrow into the substrate next to my LR. I'm afraid its not eating and it will starve. Any advice? <<If it is the C. vittatus, it should be fine. These act in much the same manner as other algae eating crabs and as such, I would not be concerned for its well fare. Keep a close eye on it.. Read more here about half way down.. http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm >> Regards, Brian <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Hermit crab of Thailand traveled to Holland... ID, care  -- 08/27/07 L.S., 17 august our son took with him a nice, empty (so we thought) shell. We were on holiday in Thailand. He found the shell at the beach at the island Ko Pha Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand. After more than 24 hours of traveling we exposed the shell at home on a table and had a look at it once in a while (dreaming about Ko Pha Ngan). Saturday evening (25 august) we looked at it again and saw it walking! The shell obviously was not so empty as we thought. We think it is a marine hermit crab. The shell is about 7 cm long. The crab has dark brown paws with little hair and blue stripes. I asked my son and he told me he found the shell at the beach, near the coral, but within the range of tide. I would have loved to bring back the poor animal. Unfortunately, Thailand is so far away. So I called the Zoo of Rotterdam and asked them if they could take care of our new pet. They will!!! We brought it yesterday to the zoo. They will investigate which kind of hermit crab it is but I am not sure if they succeed (they have so many animals to take care of.). So I looked on Internet to see if I can learn more about hermit crabs. At that moment I found your marvelous site. I hope you or the forum could help me in identifying the creature. Attached you'll find a picture of the crab. Maybe one glance at it is enough to identify the animal? If so, I can inform the Zoo so they can take even better care of the crab. We hope you will have a look at the picture. I tried to post this message on the forum but unfortunately this was not possible (the sign-in process was the problem). Thanks a lot for answering, Best regards Annemarij <Hallo Annemarij! The crab looks like a Clibanarius sp. hermit crab. These are quite common in the aquarium trade. They are very hardy animals and easy to keep. There are many species, some found in freshwater, brackish, and marine environments. Many species are intertidal animals, adapted to quite extreme changes in temperature and salinity. This is probably why they do so well in aquaria! The feed mostly on algae and organic detritus. Marine aquarists usually keep Clibanarius tricolor, a marine/brackish water species; freshwater aquarists may sometimes be offered Clibanarius africanus. Assuming you found your specimen on a saltwater beach, then you should keep the hermit crab in a tropical marine aquarium. Generally these hermit crabs are unproblematic. The only issue when keeping hermit crabs is they need access to empty shells as they grow. I hope this helps, Neale>

Re: hermit crab of Thailand traveled to Holland 8/28/07 Dear Neale, Thanks a lot for answering my mail! It certainly help me. I'll inform the Zoo Blijdorp of Rotterdam and hope that 'our' crab will have a happy and long life. Again, many thanks. Best regards, Annemarij <You're most welcome, and I'm glad the little crab is going to have a pleasant life at such a nice zoo. Cheers, Neale>

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