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FAQs about Hermit, Anomuran Crab Identification 1

Related Articles: Hermit Crabs, Crabs, Marine Scavengers, Fresh to Brackish Crabs,

Related FAQs: Hermit IDs 2, Hermit IDs 3, Hermit IDs 4, & Hermit Crabs 1, Hermit 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,
Land Hermit Crabs, Squat Lobsters, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp, Marine Scavengers, Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Hermit crab question... Marine/Amphibious? Floridian... 7/31/06 I have been surfing your site trying to find the answer to my question but there is SO MUCH INFORMATION my head is swimming. <Mmm... not on just Marine or "Land" Hermits...> Please help. My family recently brought back 6 marine hermit crabs from Destin Florida. There are two large ones, and 4 much smaller ones. They are all brown with striped legs. We decided that we would set up a small salt water aquarium for them. <Hope it works> I am having troubling finding out exactly what I need to do this. What are their living requirements? <A cycled marine aquarium of adequate size... if they're truly all-aquatic species. Can't discern from your brief description> Right now they are in a Tupperware container with some sand and sea water from Destin and we have been feeding them krill. Any info you can give me would be great. Thanks for you patience. Callie <Mmm, well... First need to find out if these are amphibious or full-time aquatic species... as their environment will be necessarily very different. Such identification may be able to be done on the Net... searching under the terms: "Hermit Crab Identification Florida"... perhaps looking at the "Google Images" from this search. Do you see this species? Once you know their habitat (from reading on the Net), you can proceed for terrestrial: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm or aquatic: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above either one... Bob Fenner>
Re: hermit crab question 8/1/06
Thanks for your patience. I believe that they are red striped hermit crabs. <Clibanarius vittatus?> The smaller ones have been riding on the backs of the larger ones and basically staying out of the water. Does that mean they need some dry land in their aquarium? <Yes> If their tank has both areas in it, does it still need a pump of some kind? <Yes... and a filter> What about a heater or will a light be enough? <Might be> What kind of testing supplies am I going to need? What should the ratio of live rock to sand be? Thanks for your help. I have tried stores in my area but not found much help so far. Thanks again Callie <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sea shells from the sea shore... Please, no. Accidental Hermit ID 06/14/2006 hi there, I have a little problem, I have just returned from a trip to florida and after unpacking the sea shells that I brought back as souvenirs I found my self a new little friend, he is some kind of hermit crab both claws are the same size and he is hairless from what I can tell he kind of looks like a spider and is brown with lighter color rings...he survived over a week wrapped up in paper towels and a plastic bag I was wondering if you might be able to help with the species of crab and care of him... Thank you Michelle <<Michelle: Now you know the dangers of collecting shells at the beach. Without a picture, it's hard to tell what it is. From your description, it might be a Common Squat Hermit Munida pusilla. If you do a search by those names, perhaps you'll find a picture that looks like what you have and hopefully some advice on how to take care of it. If you can take it back to the beach, that's what I would do. Best of luck, Roy>>

Mystery Hermits... - 04/19/06 Thanks for your recent help Bob (below). I used to work in a LFS (still do very occasionally) and I probably would have pointed out the Protopalythoa as the issue in a second if it was somebody else's system. <Heeee! Funny how this works> I starting off with a couple single polyps to suck up nasties while the tank was breaking in and I guess because of that I ignored them when I was trying to find the cause of my allelopathy. Odd how you can overlook something like that in your own system so easily. Anyway, I have a new issue, some hermit crabs I can't ID. I got them mixed in with some tricolours I ordered online. <Oh oh...> You couldn't really tell they were not blue legs when they were little but now you can see the difference. The things are complete *bastards*. <Yeeikes... well, actually, many Hermits are... opportunistic omnivores/predators... decapods in anomurans skins> They grow twice as fast as anything I've ever seen and they kill snails constantly. I saw one take a pincer off my sally lightfoot yesterday. They also are constantly on the move knocking stuff over and being a big PITA. The first couple to get big I wrote off as a fluke and they went to visit in the puffer tank. <Tasty. Hail Caesar!> Now I have 4 more that are growing up and causing problems. I'm trying to figure out what they are. I have no problem letting them visit the puffers too but if they are something rare or unusual I'd keep them or give them to someone with an interest in such things. I have some bad pics. They don't sit still much and my camera's auto focus has problems with that. Here's a pic where you can see the pattern on the legs They are a blue / black colour with vertical white stripes on the legs. The stripes to don't wrap around like a left handed / zebra hermit. pic crab1.jpg Here's a close up of one of the smaller ones. He's got bright red Claws with white dots pic crab2.jpg And finally a comparison of one of them next to a regular blue leg. pic crabcompare.jpg Any ideas or do you know of a reference I can check? Many Thanks, Aaron <Mmm, maybe Dardanus lagopodes: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm Trouble. Bob Fenner>

Perhaps a mis ID of a hermit crab on your site????? Yep 3-4-09 Hi Crew, First off, thanks for your hard work and making this hobby easier for the rest of us. Your work provides an invaluable source of knowledge for us all. <Glad to share> I am writing because I recently collected some hermit crabs in Key Largo, Florida. Most of them were your standard blue legs but others were a type I didn't recognize but have seen may times. After doing some research and image searching across various sites, I believe that the crabs are "Thinstripe hermit crabs - Clibanarius Vittatus." I noticed that on this page of your site ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitidfaqs.htm ), <I see this> the email on April 19, 2006 shows three images of what I think is in fact a Thinstripe hermit. <And I do agree> I have also attached the best images I could muster with my point and shoot of my crab(s) for comparison. You identified that crab as possibly being "Dardanus lagopodes" which on this page ( http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm ) it states that they come from the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea. <D'oh... which is also correct> The thing is, that I caught my crab in Key Largo, FL - a long way from the Indo Pacific and it looks a whole lot like the crab in the April 19th email. lol. <Agreed> I found these crabs living in the same exact places as the blue legs which is why I believe that quite often you see them in LFS's (at least down here). And also, perhaps why the person who wrote the email compared it to a blue leg (they are probably all scooped up at once and mixed up). Anyway, just wanted to let you guys know and of course, I may be completely mistaken since I know much less than you guys but thought I should point it out just in case. Upon further reading on your site about the Thin Striped hermit, I can see that they are not considered reef safe. I did however want to confirm with you guys that I was ID'ing this crab correctly. Thanks, Jorge <Thank you for this valuable input/correction Jorge... I'll attach your correction to the existing mis-id. Bob Fenner> <http://www.gsmfc.org/seamap/picture_guide/Hermit%20Crabs/clibanarius%20vittatus.pdf>

Hermit crab ID - is it safe? 8/24/05 Hello crew, First, thanks for all the hard work you guys put into this site. It is really appreciated by us newbies. I've learned more things reading your FAQs than most other sources online. <Ah...> On to my issue. Some of my SPS have been losing their polyps and this week, I'm suspecting a hermit crab. Yes, yes, I realize that this could be caused by so many other reasons, but I just wanted to eliminate some of my variables. The main reason for my suspicion is that I saw this hermit crab standing on top of my green Pocillopora one night. After walking closer to the tank, he scooted away - quite rapidly I might add. <Implying guilt?> Here's a link to a picture of it. http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a193/gil716/orangehermit.jpg Your help is appreciated. Regards, Gil <Mmm, does look guilty! I am not a fan of "using" hermit crabs in general marine aquariums period... I would remove this one. Bob Fenner>

Pylopagurus holthuisi, Marine Hermits 10/21/05 Hey Guys, <Hi Tate.> I have been looking all over the web and I cannot identify what type of Hermit Crab I have. <Lets see what you have here…>I don't currently have any pics of my own, but I did manage to find two on ReefCentral pics: http://reefcentral.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=67809&papass=&sort=1&thecat=999 http://reefcentral.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=3052&papass=&sort=1&thecat=999 <He looks like Pylopagurus Holthuisi to me common name: striped hermits or red striped hermit.> In case the pics don't work he is a large green hermit with white stripes running vertically down his legs. <They work.> It is very peaceful and eats a ton of algae. I got him when I first started and did not know any better, but I really like it and want another one to go with him in a 180 gallon reef tank. Any information would be useful. <The crab itself is quite hardy, usually an incidental acquisition when purchasing other smaller "reef" hermits. They can grow quite large, in fact I have a specimen who currently inhabits a 6" shell. He was a fine reef citizen but as he got bigger began to topple sessile inverts and prey on other crustaceans and mollusks. I would keep a close eye on him and provide plenty of extra shells.> Thank you, Tate <No problem, Adam J.>

Hermit Crab ID, care, literacy 8/1/05 My hermit crab is more of a black color but looks like he has stripes that are a lime green. So what kind of a hermit is he. <Mmm, I'd try the ID books of Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach here... am out in HI, so, don't have access to my copies> I found it in Pensacola Florida at Navarre beach. <These places are proper nouns, capitalized> so he was used to being in salt water. my questions are: is it ok to put him in fresh water, does it need water in it's tank to just go in or to drink or does it like to swim. <... do need seawater... to live in... if it was collected from such> how can you tell if it's a male or female and how old it is. I heard they like to be in groups of 4. will it be ok by itself? This crab is very friendly it has some fur on the legs so it reminds me of a spider. Its cool that I found it in the wild and it's not afraid of me. I want to do the best I can to enjoy it as a pet but also keep it happy and alive. am going to Michigan to live with my mom. am in florida on vacation. so am bringing my crab with me. so any info u can give me is great. thank you for your time. Camille <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm and the linked files... Bob Fenner>

Re: hermit, further poor grammar examples! 8/1/05 Thanx 4 correcting my grammer even though it has no relevance to my hermit crab whatsoever and I didn't know I was writing an essay 4 english. But just so u know my poor crab died. It's all your fault cuz u didn't respond quick enough. Camille <Your English is still atrocious... Grow up, learn how to communicate in your native tongue, sit up straight, wash your hands... Heeeeee! BobF>

Crab hitchhiker, using WWM My family and I just returned from a trip to Mobile, AL on Dauphin Island. My kids were picking up shells from the beach and accidentally took one with a small crab still occupying his home. The shells sat in a plastic bag for almost two days and now that I've discovered our new friend, and his will to live, I would like to keep him alive somehow. From internet info, I think he is a red striped crab. No clue what to do. Help me save the poor guy! Paul <Paul... help yourself... your answers are posted, archived on WWM... use the index or search tool on the homepage... re "hermit crabs". Bob Fenner>

Hermit Crab ID Thanks James (Salty Dog) <You're welcome> Was able to talk the Local Fish Store into giving me some shells for my hermit crabs that were in their tanks but empty. The ones they had for sale had a different opening. The crab ID was uneventful. Wasn't able to find a match. I used a magnifying glass and may be able to give you a better description. One hermit crab has a turquoise carapace. At the end of the first joint or knuckle from the carapace is a large turquoise dot it covers the whole knuckle. The rest of the legs are maroon with white irregular polka dots and covered with white tipped hairs. Oh boy, this isn't easy. I can't imagine it's easy for you either, no picture. The second hermit crab has legs that are banded brown and tan, white tipped hairs and has large dots of red or orange on first joint from carapace. Unfortunately where I bought them, they are sold only as "hermit crabs" no names are given and the staff doesn't know what they are. <Based on your description, other than what I mentioned in a previous email, I can't find anything that resembles that either. I see on your other email you were able to identify one of them.> I also bought an oyster after reading they would be good at keeping the water clear. Yea or nay? <Oysters are filter feeders and require a plankton source such as DT's phytoplankton. Without a daily source of food your oyster won't survive long.> Also, how can I keep my feather duster from falling out of his niche? <Build up some rubble around the tube.> I purchased three peppermint shrimp, one survived. It has developed a black tail. Any problems with that? <I wouldn't be concerned about it, probably will be gone after his next molt.> He is very aggressive. Steals food from all other inhabitants including an anemone. Is this natural? Thanks again for your help. - Thomas David <Not unusual. James (Salty Dog)>

Hermit Crab ID What's up Salty Dog - I was able to find one of the hermit crabs with an oceanic crab image search. The one with the turquoise spots is Dardanus guttatus. The second crab I've yet to find. Thanks for your time and help. - TD <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Hermit Crab ID Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 Although I have been an avid freshwater aquarium hobbyist for 30 something years, I recently got bit by the mini reef bug. I have two hermit crabs I cannot identify. Both have hairy red/maroon legs/claws with white irregular sized dots. The difference is that one has round blue or turquoise "knee-caps" and the other has round red "knee-caps". Would you please identify them for me? <Thomas, just based on your description there is a good chance they could be P. operculatus or P. cadenati. Do a search on these and see what comes up.> I would like to do a little research on them but don't know what they are called. My second question is: What kind of problems can arise if a hermit crab needs a larger shell and there isn't one available? <None should arise, he is just going to be in cramped quarters.> In addition, Will any shape opening do? I have noticed that some shells for sale have a round opening and some have an opening that is more long and narrow. Which shell shape is more appropriate for my oceanic hermits?<Get shells similar to the one they use. They know what they are looking for.> I am very grateful for any information you can provide, no matter how brief or extensive. At this point I'm clueless. Thanks! <Good luck. James (Salty Dog)>

Is this crab reef safe? Good Evening All Big fan of Wet Web Media site from the UK here. I want to thank you guys more than anything. You have been invaluable in my venturing over from tropical freshwater to the dark side aka MARINE! Feeling that my LFS (love that shop) was trustworthy, I bought this little critter (must be nearly 2inch body length) taking their word that he was a blue legged hermit, or Clibanarius tricolor. Then I started looking for pics as I didn't think he looked right, lo and behold, he ain't one of them. In fairness his legs are blue, but not solid blue, they're stripy. Now I'm very attached to Herman (Hermit to his friends), but this tank is going to be minimal fish, maximum reef and I'm scared he's going to have to go. << You can always take him out later, so I guess I wouldn't worry much. But on the other hand I also want to say "why change it" and just have you keep him out of the tank. >> I would really appreciate help in identifying him. I can't find any pics like him. << I don't have any ID info, but I'll bet he is reef safe. >> Thanks in advance, for all your help, and for these fab pages, Marie :) << Blundell >>

Hermit ID Dear Anthony, Bob, Can not help on identification on this crab. Please?? Boris Macedonia <A Calcinus species. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm Bob Fenner>

Hermit Crabs I live on the coast of North Carolina and have recently discovered many hermit crabs on the beach. I have been unlucky in being able to determine what species of hermit crabs these are, and cannot find any website regarding native hermit crab species here in NC. <Your best bet is to contact a local public aquarium or go to the library searching for books on native animals.> From what I have gathered, there are aquatic and land hermit crabs. <Correct> I would imagine that these are aquatic types, but my 9 year old insists that they are Ecuadorian Hermit Crabs because he has seen them on the internet somewhere. Do you have any ideas of what types live out here and would wash up on the beach? <No, not really, just that they are temperate species, need cold water and if indeed are aquatic, they will perish in a room temperature tank.> The crabs are brownish in color and have equal sized claws, rather small compared to the purchased hermit crab claws I remember from when I was a kid. Thank you for any information you can provide me. <See notes above. -Steven Pro>

-"Hairy" hermit crabs- I just purchased two medium sized (approx 3" shells) "hairy crabs" from my favorite fish store. These crabs wear shells on their backs like the hermit crab, but the pet store called them "hairy crabs". <Oh, they're hermits all right. Very aggressive though!> I have looked at everything I can find on the internet pertaining to these crabs to no avail. <Likely Dardanus megistos, but impossible to say w/out a picture.> Since I rely on info I obtain from the internet to learn about new purchases I am stumped by the lack of info on my crabs. <This is one of those times when doing research before your purchase would have been a great idea!> I placed one crab in my 55g reef tank with LR and one coral. It also has a large yellow tang, 7 assorted damsels, a brittle star and a goby. Is the crab a danger to any of these already established animals. <To the smaller ones, yes.> The other crab went into a 75g tank with a blue tang (approx 8") and a carpet anemone. <Should be fine in there but the blue tang is much to large for a 75. Please find at least a 6' long home for it, it's a very large fish with large swimming requirements.> I am just stocking this tank as it's only 3 months old. If these crabs are aggressive I will definitely take them back to the store and get something more compatible for my tanks. <You may be better off bringing them back.> Also since they seem to be of the hermit family should I keep several larger shells available for them to use as homes. <Yes> Thanks for all the info your website brings to those of us who are less than marine biologists. <You're very welcome, but that would include me as well! -Kevin> Janie

Hermit crab hitchhikers: Hydroids - 7/14/03 What's this growing on the hermit crab's shell? Please don't tell me it's Aiptasia. <no worries.. or at least, they are not Aiptasia. They are hydroids... and quite a handsome colony at that. Yet - they can be fiercely stinging and no less formidable to other invertebrates as Aiptasia> I do have 3 Aiptasia in a new tank that I have just begun to stock, but they don't look like this. <no worries about your glass anemones either... they only flourish in tanks with nutrient control problems (poor skimming, poor water flow, overfeeding, etc)> The ones I know that are Aiptasia are0.25-0.5cm across, brown and look just like the pictures on your site. The ones in the attached photo are much smaller, clear and growing like shaggy hair on their transport. Thanks. <do enjoy them in the meantime... a fascinating creature and one that will behave if you maintain proper water quality. Anthony>

- Louisiana Hermit Crab ID - I am trying to find out about some hermit crabs my daughter brought home from Grand Isle Louisiana. Their claws are the same size, and legs have a dark color possibly black with a lighter color possible yellow or white running parallel to one another. They look like they stay in the water usually because their shells have barnacles on them. With this information could you tell me what kind of hermit crab these are and how to care for them? <Well, I can't be 100% certain what type of hermit crab they are, but there's a possibility it is Clibanarius vittatus, the Thin stripe Hermit, which seems to be common around the Gulf Coast states. As for care, I think you could likely keep them in typical marine conditions, similar to saltwater fish. You probably wouldn't want to heat the water too much, but ideally match the conditions to those of the waters of the Grand Isle.> Thank you, the dad that just don't Know <Cheers, J -- >

Anemone hermits I think I have a pair of anemone hermits in my tank. They came in with the blue legs at my LFS, and I thought they were cool so I bought them. They are black and white and larger then my blue legs, the largest being the dominant and the small just pushes everybody around, or runs over them without a care. I have a book on hermits, though it's a bit dated, and it mentions the black and white legs as being indicative of an anemone hermit. I love my little hermits, they are fun to watch, but these two seem to have a problem, they came without anemones. I have watched the largest rub up against my "flower anemone" (no idea what it really is) several times and poke it to close so he could attach it. Well the anemone is about 4 or 5 inches in diameter and the hermit shell and all is only about 1/2 an inch. I think that the loss of my smallest Condylactis anemone was due to the same treatment, he'd already been abused by the biggest anemone earlier. So I guess my question is do I really have anemone hermits, what kind of anemone do they need, and how do I acquire the proper species of anemone. <Hmm, can't tell the species of Hermit from the description. Please take a look at the few species shown on our scant coverage: http://wetwebmedia.com/hermitcrabs.htm And maybe search the internet through your search engines under the names by genera of hermits... And ask your livestock suppliers to look for live rock, other hard based organisms from the region of origin of your Hermits to see if they can find "recruits" (contaminant) anemones on these> How long before they get to big for a 60 gal FOWLER (with a few inverts on the side) tank. <Maybe weeks, months... perhaps never> I have some dragonets and I have heard that hermits have a taste for these cute little fish (my friend lost her mandarin to a large hermit) <They have more cosmopolitan tastes... eating most anything they can grab> like I said earlier, they are pretty small, but since I got them a couple of months ago they have shed once and changed shells numerous times (there are a lot of shells in there and apparently they have to try them all!!) Thank you for all your help once again. Kim <Enjoy these animals... keep them well fed... and keep an eye on them! Bob Fenner>

What type of snail is this (actually Hermit Crab) I went to the LFS to get some blue legged hermits. I am not sure what in the heck these are can you help? <Mmm, not to species... do seem to be of the family Diogenidae, possibly genus Dardanus> Are they safe for corals and snails? <Mmm, not very. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitcrabs.htm> Thanks! Also, I included two other photos. I think it is either red slime algae or maroon coralline? <Please read through the marine algae sections posted on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Please let me know what you think. The tank is
only a month old.

Red Legged Hermit Crabs Dear Bob, After looking over the site, you wrote about Dardanus megistos (sp?) as a type of Red Legged Hermit that controls Aiptasia. I have several "Scarlet Reef Hermits" in my 125 FOWLR and DSB. I tried a search but came up empty on the net. Are the Scarlet Reef Hermits the same? <Mmm, no... the latter are almost always Paguristes cadenati... Bob Fenner> Thank you,

Blue leg hermit crab? Hi http://www.reefclub.or.kr/forums/showthread.php?s=dad061220736b909342997c6r=1 (language is Korean, so you can't read it, but you can see the picture) this is not blue leg hermit crab? no reef safe? what kind of this hermit crab? <Don't know this species. Not found in my reference works. Will post in hopes that others may identify, offer input. Most Hermits are not carte blanche "reef safe". Would pass on this one if you did not find, feel it is more toward that end of the spectrum. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner> thanks in advance.

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