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Hermit Crab Social Behavior – Not Such “Hermits” After All!

Researchers at Tuft’s University and the New England Aquarium have uncovered an amazing example of social behavior among the common pet trade Terrestrial or Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus).

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Congregation of Hermit Crabs in St. ThomasHermit Crabs protect the soft parts of their bodies by moving into the discarded shells of snails and other creatures.  Finding the right-sized home is a matter of life and death, as shell-less crabs are quickly eaten by predators.  It is also a constant concern for the crabs – as they grow, they need to find increasingly larger shells.

Deprived of shells, the crabs will try anything – one researcher described as “pathetic” their attempts to shelter within bottle caps and pen tops! Read More »

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