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 Marine Dimensions > Creature feature archive > Hermit Crab  
The Common Hermit Crab- Pagurus bernhardus


The Common Hermit Crab- Pagurus bernhardus - is a decapod crustacean. Unlike other crustaceans the carapace of this crab only covers part of its body. To protect the softer part of its body the hermit crab uses empty mollusc shells (such as whelks) to live in and carry around. When the hermit starts to get too big or the shell gets damaged they find a new one to live in, and two hermits can often be found fighting over a certain shell. The soft body of the crab is twisted which allows it to fit into the narrow coils of the shell. If under threat or disturbed the hermit retreats back into the shell and using its right pincer it closes the shell as it is much larger than the left. It uses two small back legs to grip the back of the shell to stop it being pulled out by larger crustacean species. Hermit crabs can be found in both rocky and sandy areas and are actually more closely related to lobsters than crabs despite their misleading name.

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