Pagurus bernhardus

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Pagurus bernhardus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocyemata
Infraorder: Anomura
Family: Paguridae
Genus: Pagurus
P. bernhardus
Binomial name
Pagurus bernhardus
Synonyms [1]
  • Bernhardus typicus Dana, 1851
  • Cancer bernhardus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Eupagurus bernhardus (Linnaeus, 1767)
  • Pagurus streblonyx Leach, 1815
  • Pagurus ulidianus Bell, 1845

Pagurus bernhardus is the common marine hermit crab of Europe's Atlantic coasts. It is sometimes referred to as the common hermit crab or soldier crab. Its carapace reaches 3.5 centimetres (1.4 in) long,[2] and is found in both rocky and sandy areas, from the Arctic waters of Iceland, Svalbard and Russia as far south as southern Portugal, but its range does not extend as far as the Mediterranean Sea. It can be found in pools on the upper shore and at the mean tide level down to a depth of approximately 140 metres (460 ft), with smaller specimens generally found in rock pools around the middle shore and lower shore regions, with larger individuals at depth. P. bernhardus is an omnivorous detritivore[3][4] that opportunistically scavenges for carrion,[5] and which can also filter feed when necessary.[6]

Illustration by Augusta Foote Arnold.

Pagurus bernhardus uses shells of a number of gastropod species for protection, including Littorina littorea, Littorina obtusata, Nassarius reticulatus, Gibbula umbilicalis, Nucella lapillus and Buccinum.[7][8] In the warmer parts of its range, the sea anemone Calliactis parasitica is often found growing on the shell occupied by Pagurus bernhardus. In colder waters, this role is filled by Hormathia digitata. Hermit crabs fight one another for gastropod shells and have a preference for shells of certain species.[8]


  1. ^ Michael Türkay (2011). Lemaitre R, McLaughlin P (eds.). "Pagurus bernhardus (Linnaeus, 1758)". World Paguroidea & Lomisoidea database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  2. ^ E. Wilson (2007). "Hermit crab – Pagurus bernhardus". Marine Life Information Network. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
  3. ^ Ernst S. Reese (1969). "Behavioural adaptations of intertidal hermit crabs". American Zoologist. 9 (2): 343–355. doi:10.1093/icb/9.2.343. JSTOR 3881807.
  4. ^ J. H. Orton (1927). "On the mode of feeding of the hermit crab Eupagurus bernhardus and some other decapods" (PDF). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 14 (4): 909–921. doi:10.1017/S0025315400051146.
  5. ^ M. E. Laidre & R. W. Elwood (2008). "Motivation matters: cheliped extension displays in the hermit crab, Pagurus bernhardus, are honest signals of hunger". Animal Behaviour. 75 (6): 2041–2047. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.11.011.
  6. ^ S. A. Gerlach, D. K. Ekstrøm and P. B. Eckardt (1976). "Filter feeding in the hermit crab, Pagurus bernhardus". Oecologia. 24 (3): 257–264. doi:10.1007/BF00345477. JSTOR 4215284.
  7. ^ "Common hermit crab (Pagurus bernhardus)". ARKive. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Brian A. Hazlett (1967). "Interspecific shell fighting between Pagurus bernhardus and Pagurus cuanensis (Decapoda, Paguridea)". Sarsia. 29 (1): 215–220. doi:10.1080/00364827.1967.10411083.

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