Coenobita scaevola

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Coenobita scaevola
Scientific classification
C. scaevola
Binomial name
Coenobita scaevola
(Forskål, 1775)
Synonyms [1]
  • Cancer scaevola Forskål, 1775
  • Coenobita compressa var. jousseaumei Bouvier, 1892
  • Coenobita rugosa var. granulata Bouvier, 1890
  • Coenobita rugosa var. jousseaumei Bouvier, 1890

Coenobita scaevola is a species of terrestrial hermit crab from the western Indian Ocean and Red Sea.


Coenobita scaevola lives around parts of the Indian Ocean, including the Gulf of Aden and the coasts of Somalia and Pakistan.[2] Although the hermit crabs of the Red Sea are poorly studied,[3] they include C. scaevola as the region's only species of terrestrial hermit crab.[2][4]


Coenobita scaevola was first described in 1775 by Peter Forsskål,[1] under the name Cancer scaevola, with a type locality of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.[5]

Life cycle[edit]

Reproduction takes place during the hottest months of the year, when temperatures are 24–38 °C (75–100 °F).[6] In common with other hermit crabs, the young animals of Coenobita scaevola pass through a number of larval phases,[4] before reaching the glaucothoe and then the juvenile stage. C.  scaevola has the greatest number of zoeal phases of any Coenobita species (seven), and they last longer than in any other Coenobita species, lasting a total of 54–80 days.[6]


Coenobita scaevola can survive in arid conditions, such as those on the Sinai Peninsula, but only close to the shore, to which it must return regularly to replenish the water stored in its shell for respiration.[2][6] C. scaevola rests in burrows or among coastal vegetation during the heat of the day, and emerges at night to feed.[6] Although the air temperature outside the burrows can reach 33 °C (91 °F) during the day, at a depth of 10 cm (3.9 in), the temperature does not exceed 28 °C (82 °F).[7]

Most adults up to a carapace length of 7.5 mm (0.30 in) occupy a Nerita undata shell. Larger individuals choose Turbo radiatus, Polinices milanstomus and Monodonta canalifera, while small individuals (below 3 mm or 0.12 in) occupy shells of Planaxis sulcatus and Nassarius arcularius.[8]

Further reading[edit]

  • Renate Niggemann (1968). "Zur Biologie und Ökologie des Landeinsiedlerkrebses Coenobita scaevola Forskål am Roten Meer" [Biology and ecology of the terrestrial hermit crab Coenobita scaevola Forskål of the Red Sea]. Oecologia (in German). 1 (3): 236–264. doi:10.1007/BF00383140.


  1. ^ a b Patsy McLaughlin (2010). Lemaitre R, McLaughlin P (eds.). "Coenobita scaevola (Forskål, 1775)". World Paguroidea & Lomisoidea database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Richard G. Hartnoll (1988). "Evolution, systematics, and geographical distribution". In Warren W. Burggren; Brian Robert McMahon (eds.). Biology of the Land Crabs. Cambridge University Press. pp. 6–54. ISBN 9780521306904.
  3. ^ Khaleid F. Abd El-Wakeil; Elham S. Ahme; Ahmad H. Obuid-Allah; Nasser A. El-Shimy (2009). "Hermit crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura) inhabiting the intertidal and shallow subtidal region of Red Sea coast of Egypt" (PDF excerpt). Zootaxa. 2213: 57–63.
  4. ^ a b Ali Al-Aidaroosa & D. I. Williamson (1989). "Larval development of the land hermit crab Coenobita scaevola (Forskål, 1775) (Crustacea: Anomura: Coenobitidae) reared in the laboratory". Journal of Natural History. 23 (1): 111–128. doi:10.1080/00222938900770071.
  5. ^ Peter Forsskål (1775). "Cancer". Descriptiones animalium avium, amphibiorum, piscium, insectorum, vermium (in Latin). Copenhagen: Möller. p. 93.
  6. ^ a b c d Wafaa S. Sallam; Fernando L. Mantelatto (2010). "Population features and breeding season of the land hermit crab Coenobita scaevola (Forskäl, 1775) (Anomura, Coenobitidae) from Wadi El-Gemal, South Red Sea, Egypt" (PDF). Nauplius. 18 (1): 25–33.
  7. ^ Colin Little (1983). "Crustaceans and the evolution of the arthropods". The Colonisation of Land: Origins and Adaptations of Terrestrial Animals. Cambridge University Press. pp. 63–105. ISBN 9780521252188.
  8. ^ W. S. Sallam; F. L. Mantelfatto; M. H. Hanafy (2008). "Shell utilization by the land hermit crab Coenobita scaevola (Anomura, Coenobitidae) from Wadi El-Gemal, Red Sea" (PDF). Belgian Journal of Zoology. 138 (1): 13–19.