"Staghorn Hermit Crab" (Manucomplans varians)

…a unique species of Pagurid hermit crab that occurs in the northeastern and southeastern Pacific Ocean, ranging from the Gulf of California to Panama.. Like other hermit crabs M. varians will find and use the shells of snails to house its soft body parts. True to what their common name suggests staghorn hermit crabs are almost always seen with a specific species of coral (Nanaria mirabilis) growing on their back. The corals typically grow quite large and create several striking spirals all while being carried around by M. varians. It is unknown if the coral being present has any negative effects on M. varians and it might even serve as a sort of defense/camouflage as M. varians can retreat into the coral and ‘seal’ itself inside using its claw. 


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Image: Ryanphotographic

Common Hermit Crab (Pagurus bernhardus)

Also known as the soldier crab, the common hermit crab is a species of pagurid hermit crab which is distributed along most of Europe’s Atlantic coasts. Common hermit crabs are typically seen in pools on the upper to lower shore regions in rock/tide pools. Common hermit crabs chiefly detritivores but they will also scavenge and filter feed if necessary. In typical hermit crab fashion P. bernhardus will use the shells of gastropod species, like Littorina sp. and Buccinum sp. for protection. 


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Image: Hans Hillewaert