Although its head, thorax and pincers are covered with a carapace, the hermit crab has a soft underbelly. To protect itself, it lives in a gastropod mollusc shell that it withdraws into in case of danger, blocking the entrance with its often asymmetrical claws.
If a shell is too small, it very quickly finds another one, explores it and conscientiously cleans it before moving in. In order to grow, it also needs to shed its carapace.
The female can only reproduce after shedding, before her new carapace has hardened. Mating takes place in the water. Fertilization occurs internally. After fertilization, the young hermit crab goes through a larval phase in plankton before its metamorphosis. It then settles on the seabed and immediately looks for an empty shell in which to take shelter.
The anemone hermit crab is an omnivorous, nocturnal animal: it grazes on low-growing and encrusting algae and also consumes organic waste, animal carcasses and prey like snails and other hermit crabs.
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