Physical Description

Type Information

Neotype for Coenobita clypeatus (Fabricius, 1787)
Catalog Number: USNM 126773
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Sex/Stage: male;
Preparation: Alcohol (Ethanol)
Collector(s): R. Zusi
Year Collected: 1964
Locality: Batali River, North of Grande Savane, North of Salisbury, Dominica
Elevation (m): 61 to 61
  • Neotype: McLaughlin, P. A. & Holthuis, L. B. 2002. Pagurus clypeatus Fabricius, 1787 (currently Coenobita clypeatus; Crustacea, Decapoda): proposed replacement of syntypes by a neotype. Bull. Zool. Nomen. 59 (1): 17-21.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 9 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0.5 - 80
  Temperature range (°C): 26.410 - 27.654
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.786 - 2.120
  Salinity (PPS): 36.041 - 36.287
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.616 - 4.658
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.093 - 0.185
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.726 - 1.986

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0.5 - 80

Temperature range (°C): 26.410 - 27.654

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.786 - 2.120

Salinity (PPS): 36.041 - 36.287

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.616 - 4.658

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.093 - 0.185

Silicate (umol/l): 1.726 - 1.986
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Behaviour

Hermit crab shell-switching patterns have been used as case studies in vacancy chain theory (Lewis and Rotjan 2009), a body of theory originally developed by sociologists to understand how vacancies involving discrete, reusable, and limited resources such as apartments, jobs, and cars are transferred within human populations. When an individual gets a new resource, the vacancy thus created can propagate down the socioeconomic order through a series of interdependent events, with the result that many individuals can benefit “downstream” through the acquisition of new physical resources or social positions. Rotjan et al. (2010) describe 2 types of hermit crab vacancy chains, synchronous and asynchronous. These 2 types of vacancy chains are both social and stand in direct contrast to solitary shell interactions involving a single crab and a single shell. Synchronous vacancy chains occur after several crabs adjacent to an available vacant shell have queued in decreasing size order; as soon as the largest crab switches into the vacant shell, a rapid series of sequential shell switches takes place. In contrast, in asynchronous vacancy chains individual crabs encountering a suitable vacant shell will switch and their discarded shells will later be discovered and occupied by other crabs. Thus, asynchronous vacancy chains do not involve social interactions or queue formation, and sequential shell switches take place over considerably longer time periods. In both cases, vacancy chains are terminated when the last shell discarded is of such low quality (too small or damaged) that all crabs reject it. In field observations, Rotjan et al. (2010) found that after investigation of a vacant shell that was too large, hermit crabs would remain near (within 50 cm) the shell rather than moving away immediately: crab waiting times ranged from several minutes to more than an hour, and up to 20 waiters at a time were present near the empty shell. Crabs exhibited waiting behavior at 55% (6 of 11) of stations with large vacant shells and at 100% (9 of 9) of stations with medium vacant shells. Waiters were observed at all stations where synchronous vacancy chains eventually occurred. (Rotjan et al. 2010 and references therein)

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Social networking aids housing search: hermit crabs
 

Social networking behaviors in hermit crabs helps them find new homes using vacancy chains and other behaviors.

       
 
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Rotjana RD; Chabot JR; Lewis SM. 2010. Social context of shell acquisition in Coenobita clypeatus hermit crabs. Behavioral Ecology. 21(3): 639-646.
  • 2010. Social networking helps hermit crabs find homes. Tufts University News Releases [Internet],
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© The Biomimicry Institute

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Wikipedia

Caribbean hermit crab

"Tree crab" redirects here. For the Mangrove tree crab, see Aratus pisonii.

The Caribbean hermit crab, Coenobita clypeatus, also known as the soldier crab,[2] the West Atlantic crab, the tree crab, and the purple pincher (due to the distinctive purple claw), is a species of land hermit crab native to the west Atlantic, Bahamas, Belize, southern Florida,[3] Venezuela, the Virgin Islands, and the West Indies.[4] Adults burrow and hide under the roots of large trees, and can be found a considerable distance inland.[3]

Caribbean hermit crabs are both herbivorous and scavengers. In the wild, C. clypeatus feeds on animal and plant remains, overripe fruit, and feces of other animals,[3] including the Mona ground iguana, Cyclura stejnegeri.[2] The West Indian top snail (Cittarium pica) shell is often used for its home, and the hermit crab can use its larger claw to cover the aperture of the shell for protection against predators.[3] Typically, the Caribbean hermit crab's left claw is larger in size than its right claw and is purple in color. Female land hermit crabs release fertilized eggs into the ocean. The spawning (called "washing" in the English-speaking Caribbean) occurs on certain nights, usually around August.[2]

This species is one of the two land hermit crabs commonly sold in the United States as a pet, the other being the Ecuadorian hermit crab.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Patsy A. McLaughlin, Tomoyuki Komai, Rafael Lemaitre & Dwi Listyo Rahayu (2010). Part I – Lithodoidea, Lomisoidea and Paguroidea (PDF). In Martyn E. Y. Low and S. H. Tan. "Annotated checklist of anomuran decapod crustaceans of the world (exclusive of the Kiwaoidea and families Chirostylidae and Galatheidae of the Galatheoidea)". Zootaxa. Suppl. 23: 5–107. 
  2. ^ a b c Ángel M. Nieves-Rivera & Ernest H. Williams, Jr. (2003). "Annual migrations and spawning of Coenobita clypeatus (Herbst) on Mona Island (Puerto Rico) and notes on inland crustaceans". Crustaceana 76 (5): 547–558. doi:10.1163/156854003322316191. JSTOR 20105594. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Common Coastal Flora and Fauna of Vieques". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Audrey Pavia (2006). "What is a hermit crab?". Hermit Crab. Volume 51 of Your Happy Healthy Pet (2nd ed.). John Wiley and Sons. pp. 13–22. ISBN 978-0-471-79379-3. 
  5. ^ Sue Fox (2000). "About hermit crabs". Hermit Crabs: a Complete Pet Owner's Manual. Barron's Educational Series. pp. 5–10. ISBN 978-0-7641-1229-4. 
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