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You are here:   OldClasses > 2012 > Dardanus megistos | Storm Martin

 

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Dardanus megistos

White-spotted hermit crab

Storm Martin (2012)

Dardanus megistos
 

 

Fact Sheet

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Summary


Physical Description


Size


Morphology


Ecology


Feeding Ecology


Predators


Symbiosis


Habitat


Life History & Behaviour


Population Structure


Reproduction


Development


Shell Selection (Experiment)


Anatomy & Physiology


Digestive System


Circulatory and Excretory Systems


Nervous and Sensory Systems


Musculature and Exoskeleton


Respiratory System


Evolution & Systematics


Systematics


Fossil Record


Biogeographic Distribution


Conservation & Threats


References & Links

Summary

Hermit crabs are a superfamily of common, well known anomuran decapods and are not true crabs at all, walking in a regular forward motion rather than the typical sideways pattern of true crabs. Unlike other decapods, the abdomen of hermit crabs is soft and vulnerable as almost all hermit crabs rely on discarded gastropod mollusc shells for shelter, changing host as they grow. The ecology, morphology, physiology, behaviour and evolution of hermit crabs are all strongly tied to the reliance on these external shelters.

Dardanus megistos is amongst the largest of hermit crabs, growing to 30cm. It is often considered to be a deeper dwelling species, though at Heron Island at least, smaller individuals are not uncommon from the reef flat. Here it is most easily come across at low tide. Hermit crabs are shy, harmless and are easy to interact with. As well as D. megistos, there are several other species of hermit crab present at Heron Island, including the reasonably sized D. lagopodes and many smaller species.

Hermit crabs and decapods in general are well studied. However, hermit crabs in particular are under-represented in the Australian literature and little work has been done on the species commonly found at Heron Island. Specifically: population based studies, scientific description of larval development, detailed anatomical description, investigation of larval settlement and metamorphosis cues and behavioural studies concerning host shell preferences could all be considered novel topics of study for D. megistos and other hermit crabs of the Great Barrier Reef.

Dardanus megistos
Photo: Storm Martin, Heron Island, 2012

Classification

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Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Malacostraca
Order
Decapoda
Superfamily
Paguroidea
Family
Diogenidae
Genus
Dardanus

Common Names

whitespotted hermit