From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The junior homonym Coenobita Gistl, 1848 is now the moth genus Ectropis.
Caribbean hermit crab.JPG
Caribbean hermit crab, C. clypeatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Superfamily: Paguroidea
Family: Coenobitidae
Genus: Coenobita
Latreille, 1829
Type species
Pagurus clypeatus
Fabricius, 1787 [1]

The genus Coenobita contains the sixteen species of terrestrial hermit crabs.[1]


Coenobita species carry water in the gastropod shells they inhabit, allowing them to stay out of water for a long time.[2]


The majority of the species are found in the Indo-Pacific region, with only one species in West Africa, one species occurring along the western Atlantic Ocean, and one species occurring on the Pacific coast of the Americas.[3]

Species Authority Year Distribution [3]
Coenobita brevimanus Dana 1852 Indo-Pacific
Coenobita carnescens Dana 1851 Pacific Ocean
Coenobita cavipes Stimpson 1858 Indo-Pacific
Coenobita clypeatus (Fabricius) 1787 Western Atlantic
Coenobita compressus H. Milne-Edwards 1836 Eastern Pacific
Coenobita longitarsis De Man 1902 East Indies
Coenobita olivieri Owen 1839 Pacific Ocean
Coenobita perlatus H. Milne-Edwards 1837 Indo-Pacific
Coenobita pseudorugosus Nakasone 1988 Indo-Pacific
Coenobita purpureus Stimpson 1858 Japan
Coenobita rubescens Greeff 1884 West Africa
Coenobita rugosus H. Milne-Edwards 1837 Indo-Pacific
Coenobita scaevola (Forskål) 1775 Indian Ocean, Red Sea
Coenobita spinosus H. Milne-Edwards 1837 Polynesia & Australia
Coenobita variabilis McCulloch 1909 Australia
Coenobita violascens Heller 1862 Pacific Ocean


Coenobita is closely related to the coconut crab, Birgus latro, with the two genera making up the whole of the family Coenobitidae. The name Coenobita was coined by Pierre André Latreille in 1829, from an Ecclesiastical Latin word, ultimately from the Greek κοινόβιον, meaning "commune"; despite ending in a vowel, the genus is masculine in gender.[4]


  1. ^ a b Patsy McLaughlin (2009). Lemaitre R, McLaughlin P, eds. "Coenobita Latreille, 1829". World Paguroidea & Lomisoidea database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ D. R. Khanna (2004). Biology of Arthropoda. Discovery Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7141-897-8. 
  3. ^ a b Richard G. Hartnoll (1988). "Evolution, systematics, and geographical distribution". In Warren W. Burggren & Brian Robert McMahon. Biology of the Land Crabs. Cambridge University Press. pp. 6–54. ISBN 978-0-521-30690-4. 
  4. ^ Gary J. Morgan & L. B. Holthuis (1989). "Nomenclatural problems associated with the genus Coenobita Latreille, 1829 (Decapoda, Anomura)" (PDF). Crustaceana. 56 (2): 176–181. doi:10.1163/156854089X00068. JSTOR 20104437. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Coenobita at Wikimedia Commons