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Galapagos hermit crab

Galapagos hermit crab
© Stephanie Foote

Common name:

Galapagos hermit crab & Semi-terrestrial hermit crab

Scientific name:

Coenobita spp.

Spanish name:

Cangrejo ermitaño

Conservation status:

Least Concern


Average lifespan:

1 - 10 years

Average size:

2 - 10 centimetres

Average weight:

200 grams

Maximum weight:

500 grams


Most species of hermit crabs have long and curved abdomens. The tip of the abdomen is adapted to clasp strongly onto the pillar of a shell, allowing them to protect themselves from predators. 

There are two species of hermit crabs within Galapagos: the semi-terrestrial and the Galapagos hermit crab. The semi-terrestrial hermit crab is light brown. Its external parts, head, claws and legs are laterally compressed – meaning from a side perspective, the hermit appears normal, but from vertically above, they appear quite narrow. The Galapagos hermit crab, on the other hand, is a dark brown-to-black colour with red-edged appendages.

There can be forceful competition among hermit crabs for shells. They may fight or kill a competitor to gain access to the shell they favour. However, if the crabs vary significantly in size, the chances of combat decrease or remain absent.

Galapagos hermit crabs in Galapagos

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