science education resource

For K-12 Students • Educators • Homeschool Families • Naturalists

Hermit Crab (Caribbean)

To view these resources with no ads please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).

Coenobita clypeatus
Hermit Crab (Caribbean)


They are found from central Florida south throughout the Caribbean.


They are found on shallow coral reefs, tide pools and shorelines during the early part of their lives. As adults they live on land.

Body Traits

They have 4 walking legs, 4 small shell legs, a small pincher, a large purple pincher, and 4 antennae. Their shells can vary in how they look, because they find them and move in! They switch shells as they get bigger.


They are nocturnal. As they grow, hermit crabs abandon their shell and move into a larger one.


They are scavengers, eating what they can find including algae, small sea creatures and debri that has fallen to the sea floor.

To view these resources with no ads, please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).


They lay eggs in the water, where they burst and release the baby crabs (larvae). The larvae will float in the ocean for about almost 2 months then settle to the bottom and make their way to land. Once land bound, it will continue to metamorphose (change) to suit its new life on land. During this time their gills become more lung-like in function.

Hermit Crab (Caribbean)


Domain:    Eukarya
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Order:     Decapoda
Family: Coenobitidae
Genus:     Coenobita
Species: C. clypeatus

Citing Research References

When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).

When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.

Here is an example of citing this page:

Amsel, Sheri. "Hermit Crab (Caribbean)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2022. December 8, 2022
< > has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.