Coastal Crabs: Hermit Crab

Photo of Hermit Crab

While looking around a nearby beach at low tide for living Northern Moon Snails, I came across a slew of Hermit Crabs re-purposing the shells of the species I was seeking. Instead of growing protective carapaces of their own, these crafty crustaceans prefer the rental model, trading in their mobile homes for a larger version when their personal needs and shell availability coincide.

Photo of Hermit Crab

According to Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman's Field Guide to Nature of New England (2012), there are at least 5 species of Hermit Crabs in our area. The individuals shown here are Long-clawed Hermit Crabs* (Pagurus longicarpus). This species has a roughly cylindrical right claw which is larger and longer than the left.

Photo of Hermit Crab

*Thanks to Aaron Hunt (an editor at the Bug Guide) for confirming my tentative identification.

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