Hermit crabs are becoming one of the most popular crustaceans to become pets. We often see it in the pet store or on the shore in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors of the shell. Many who do not know about hermit crabs have a different classification of crabs.
What is the difference between hermit crab vs crab? Both hermit crabs and crabs are decapod crustaceans, but no hermit crabs are like the 5000 species of real crabs. Crabs have small, broad, armored bodies to protect their abdomens, while hermit crabs have vulnerable and soft abdomens that require them to enter unattached shells for body protection.
We need to know in more detail what are the differences between hermit crabs and true crabs. Let’s read this article to the end.
What Is The Difference Between A Crab And A Hermit Crab?
We can still distinguish these two crustaceans despite similarities between hermit crabs and true crabs. The table below will show hermit crab vs crab in terms of characteristics.
|Half hermit crab’s body is covered with a hard exoskeleton. The rest is a softer exoskeleton.||Tough exoskeleton all of their body with abdomens and small tails hidden behind the thorax.|
|5 pairs of legs, first pair are pincers, second and third pairs for walking, fourth and fifth pair to grip the central shell.||5 pairs of legs, four pairs for walking and a pair to defend themselves.|
|Two large eyes with 360 degrees views with night vision and motion detector.||A pair of compound eyes with several thousand optical units to track movement and moving eye stalks.|
|2 pairs of antennae as sensory organs to feel what’s in their way.||Antennae for sensing chemicals and smell in the water to feel the current.|
Are Hermit Crabs A Crab?
Hermit crabs and true crabs are both crustaceans but are not closely related. Despite having ‘crab’ in its name, the hermit crab without a shell has a body almost similar to a lobster. Hermit crabs need a shell and will move as they grow larger.
Many crustaceans owners prefer to talk about hermit crab vs crab because hermit crab is not a crab and not closely related.
What Kind Of Crab Is A Hermit Crab?
Hermit crabs do not belong to any of the 5000 crabs species. They are anomuran decapod crustaceans of the superfamily Paguroidea. There are 800 hermit crabs species with two different types, marine hermit crabs and terrestrial hermit crabs.
Aquatic pet owners want to know the hermit crab vs crab differences and how to tell the difference. True crabs are rarely pets, while hermit crabs are becoming increasingly popular as aquatic pets.
What Is The Difference Between Crabs And Hermit Crabs?
If the table above is still not enough to show the difference between hermit crab vs crab, there are other differences in the mouthparts and the way of breathing. Hermit crabs have 3 pairs of appendages called maxillipeds.
Crab’s mouth parts are feathery and soft. Some crab species have harder substances in their mouthparts. While other animals have teeth in their mouths, crabs have teeth in their stomachs for digesting.
How Do I Differentiate Between Hermit Crabs And Crabs?
It is a little easy to distinguish hermit crab vs crab from the body shape. Hermit crabs always wear a shell. If hermit crabs don’t have their shells on, they will look like lobsters with soft abdomens.
Hermit crabs can walk sideways or forward despite carrying a shell, but crabs can only walk sideways. Crab has very limited joints that make a crab walk sideways.
Land Hermit Crab Vs Water Hermit Crab
Before we go into hermit crab vs crab from several different species, we need to know the difference between the two types of hermit crabs.
Land hermit crabs or terrestrial hermit crabs can live on land, although they still need two types of water, freshwater, and saltwater. All hermit crabs depend entirely on the water for breathing and bodily functions.
Water hermit crabs are the opposite of land hermit crabs. They can’t live long on land. Even if they can, it is determined by their still wet bodies to keep breathing. Water hermit crabs breathe in dissolved oxygen from the water and expel carbon dioxide through their mouths.
Land Hermit Crab Vs Sea Hermit Crab
Terrestrial hermit crabs have a habitat near the shore. Look for a sandy or muddy place not too far from water access. Other terrestrial hermit crabs live in sandhills and forests and can travel as far as they want.
Sea hermit crabs stay in shallow waters and seek places close to food sources and intertidal areas. They don’t live deeper than 450 feet. If you already know about hermit crab vs crab, now we will discuss some of the differences between specific species.
Hermit Crab Vs Coconut Crab
One type of species that is suitable to be discussed in hermit crab vs crab is the coconut crab. Blueberry hermit crab looks very similar to coconut crab at first, but there is a difference in the eyes of the two.
Coconut crabs have protective spines, while hermit crabs do not. Hermit crabs do not need protective spines near their eyes because they can enter the shell to protect themselves.
The coconut crabs are renowned for their ability to crack coconuts with strong pincers, while hermit crab’s pincers can’t do that.
Red King Crab Vs Hermit Crab
If we have seen the hermit crab similar to one of the crab species, now we discuss the hermit crab vs crab with a significant difference. The red king crab has a reddish carapace covered in sharp snipes in dark red, burgundy, or brownish colors. The red king crab has three leg pairs for walking and two claws for defending itself.
Looking at the red king crab vs hermit crab persona, you can clearly distinguish that the red king crab is much different from the hermit crab. In terms of size, the red king crab is much bigger.
The only thing similar is the red king crab’s back end twisted to one side like hermit crabs. Their one claw is larger than the other claw for crushing prey.
Fiddler Crab Vs Hermit Crab
Now we’re back to hermit crab vs crab, which has similarities. Fiddler crabs are like sea hermit crabs, live in water, and require saltwater. Fiddler crabs measure less than two inches, while hermit crabs can grow larger and need to change their shells as they grow.
Both hermit crabs and fiddler crabs have one large claw to pinch the food or defend themselves. Fiddler crabs do not have shells like hermit crabs.
Hermit Crab Vs Sand Crab
Let’s find another hermit crab vs crab with a significant difference. Sand crabs have a unique lifestyle that does not allow them to be kept as pets, unlike hermit crabs which can be pets as long as you can give them water access.
Sand crabs bury themselves on beach sands and face the ocean. Sometimes you can only see their antennae and eyes in the sand. The sand crab will pinch your toes when you accidentally step on them.
Sand crabs do not have shell-like hermit crabs. The way for sand crabs is also always sided, unlike hermit crabs which can walk forward.
Red Claw Crab Vs Hermit Crab
When you see hermit crabs in saltwater, red claw crabs are a brackish species with beautiful colors. You can keep red claw crabs in the aquarium, although they will be shy and defensive compared to your other aquatic pets. Some hermit crabs can live in brackish water because they need saltwater and freshwater to survive.
Red claw crabs have the claw color of their name with large patches on the top of their heads. Hermit crab vs crab has a difference in shell and antennae. Red claw crabs have bulging antennae that look like eyes.
Emerald Crab Vs Hermit Crab
If you are still not enough to find references about hermit crab vs crab, let’s look at the difference between an emerald crab and a hermit crab. As the name implies, the emerald crab has an emerald or bright green color.
The difference between hermit crabs and emerald crabs is the claws. Emerald crabs have flat bodies with hairy legs and two large claws, while hermit crabs have small pincers. Emerald crabs are often sought after by aquatic pet owners for their ability to clean off nuisance algae.
Final Verdict – Hermit Crab Vs Crab
Although true crabs and hermit crabs are decapod crustaceans, they are not closely related. Hermit crabs are considered to have similarities to crabs because of the ‘crab’ in their name. But of the 5000 species of crabs, none have the similarity of the 800 hermit crabs species.
There are many differences between crabs and hermit crabs in terms of their bodies, how they walk, how they breathe, and how they protect themselves. Both can be aquatic pets, although you have to study each characteristic.