Hermit Crab is a decapod crustacean that belongs to the Paguroidea superfamily. However, it is not closely related to true crabs. There are about 500 species of hermit crabs and most are aquatic. In tropical areas there are also terrestrial species.
A Hermit Crab usually uses the shells of sea snails. As it grows in size, it will abandon the smaller shell and will find a larger one. This unusual habit of this creature earned it name ‘hermit crab’ in comparison to a hermit who lives in solitude.
1.) Armed Hermit Crab (Pagurus armatus)
The unique-looking Armed Hermit Crab is a large species with legs and claws that have bands of color in red, orange and white. Its claws have short spines on the dorsal surface. It inhabits sea beds with lots of sea pen at depths of up to 117 meters.
2.) Soldier Crab (Pagurus bernhardus)
The Soldier Hermit Crab is an aquatic species that lives in the Atlantic Ocean. It can also be found on the rocky and sandy areas of Arctic region. This beautiful hermit crab can be found also in pools on the upper shore and at the mean tide level down to a depth of approximately 140 meters.
3.) White-spotted Hermit Crab(Dardanus Megistus)
This brightly colored hermit crab with white spots all over its body is commonly called White-spotted Hermit Crab.
This hermit crab species inhabits reefs found the Indian and Pacific Oceans from Africa to the South China Sea and Hawaii. This beautiful creature can attain a maximum size of 20 cm. It is also commonly called Spotted Hermit Crab.
4.) Red Hermit Crab (Paguristes puncticeps)
This pretty Red Hermit Crab looks unique for it unusual appearance. It is covered with white spots and feather-like objects all over its body. This hermit crab was photographed in Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
5.) Purple Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita purpureus)
The Purple Land Hermit Crab is a colorful species endemic to “land of the rising sun”- Japan. Its coloration is usually purple, blue, blue-purple or purple-red. These crabs were white as young and change color as it grow. It lives on forests near the coast and can be found roaming near the beach during summer and autumn. It is also commonly called Blue Berry Hermit Crab.
6.) Long-clawed Hermit Crab (Pagurus longicarpus)
Based on the above-picture of the Long-clawed Hermit Crab, it prefers colorful shells for a shelter. This small species is a common subtidal decapod that can be found from Nova Scotia to Florida and Mexico.
7.) Caribbean Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus)
The Caribbean Hermit Crab, which is also known as the Purple Pincher because of its distinctive purple claw, is a land hermit crab species endemic to the Bahamas, Belize, Venezuela, West Indies, Virgin Islands and Florida, USA. It is a popular pet in the US and is known to have a lifespan of up 40 years.
Its color varies from a pale red to a dark brown or burgundy. One unique feature of this creature although it lives on land, it has gills rather than lungs. Other common names for this hermit crab include West Atlantic Crab, Tree Crab and Soldier Crab.
8.) Coconut Crab (Birgus latro)
The colorful Coconut Crab is probably the most popular species of hermit crab. As a matter of fact, it is the world’s largest land-living arthropod. This nocturnal creature lives in the forest areas of Indian and Pacific islands.
One amazing characteristic of this hermit crab is its ability to crack coconuts. It is also commonly known as Robber Crab and Terrestrial Hermit Crab.
This large arthropod can attain length of more than 40 cm and can weigh up to 4.1 kg with a leg span of almost 1 meter. In the Chagos Archipelago where they are protected, it is a crime to hunt and eat a Coconut Crab with a fine of up to US $3,000 per crab.
9.) Australian Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita variabilis)
The Australian Land Hermit Crab is a terrestrial species endemic to Australia. It is a nocturnal crustacean that inhabits tropical regions near water. It can be found in the northern part of Australia including Western Australia, Northern territory and Queensland.
10.) Strawberry Hermit Crab (Coenobita perlatus)
This pretty hermit crab species is called Strawberry Hermit Crab because of its reddish orange colors. It is a popularly sold as a pet and can be found in the Indo-Pacific regions from Seychelles, Mauritius, and Aldabra to Samoa. This hermit crab that can also be found in Australia can live up to 30 years in the wild can only live for 1-4 years in captivity.