Common Name: Common Hermit Crab

Scientific Name: Pagurus bernhardus


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Malacostraca

Order: Decapoda

Family: Paguridae

Genus: Pagurus

Species: P. bernhardus


The common hermit crab, you see this small creature in pet stores. But do you know where it really came from? I thought not. It lives in rocky areas along the Atlantic coasts of Europe, from the cold arctic waters of Svalbard (which is between Norway and the North Pole), Iceland (which is really green), and Russia; to the southern end of Portugal. Although it does not extend to the Mediterranean Sea, it still covers a pretty good plot of land. The Pagurus bernhardus likes the rocky and sandy areas because there tend to be more shells in that area. And when hermit crabs get to big, they need to find new shells to live in. you see, unlike most crustaceans, the hermit crab does not have a hard outer shell. Instead, it adopts old mollusk shells. There are often battles just for shells between two hermit crabs! This small creature is brown, with claws, one bigger than the other. These crabs are right-handed, so the right claw is the larger one.


When they go inside their shells, they leave their larger claw in front of them to protect themselves from harmful predators such as other crabs. The claw is rough and bald. The hermit crab eats plants and animals, which would make it an omnivore. They are also scavengers, going and eating other animals. They eat certain types of worms, zooplankton, and organic rubbish. And did you know that some types of sea anemones grow on top of their shells? It’s true, and certain types of bristle worms live on the inside of the shell. Why you ask? Well, they eat the remains of the crab’s meal! Also, they can have dots, stripes, and many other markings that identify the hermit crab! Isn’t that cool?


Author: Evan B

Published: 02/2008


Arthur, Alex. Shell. London: Alfred a. Knopf, Inc., 1989. 1-63. "Common Hermit Crab - Pagurus Bernhardus." Seawater. 4 Feb. 2008 . "Hermit Crabs." Enchanted Learning. 4 Feb. 2008 . "Lundy Common Hermit Crab." English-Nature. 4 Feb. 2008 . "Pagurus Bernhardus." Wikipedia. 10 Jan. 2008. 4 Feb. 2008 .


Photo credit: Florida Center for Instructional Technology