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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 17:24 EDT

Strawberry Land Hermit Crab

The Strawberry Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita perlatus), is a species of terrestrial hermit crab. They are native to the Indo-Pacific region, specifically Madagascar, Japan, and Australia and in other areas around the Red Sea and the Pacific. However, they have spread to other Atlantic regions because humans have brought them there. Still, they have a harder time surviving on Cape Cod (Massachusetts) than they do in Kapiti Island (a small island off the coast of Paraparaumu, New Zealand).

This species of crab prefers shells with a round opening like turbo shells and tonna shells. They have pronounced striations (stitch marks) on their large pincer (about 4-7 of them) in a pattern similar to Coenobita rugosus and to a lesser extent Coenobita compressus. They are noted for their bright red coloring and white granual markings. They can be 18 mm (0.7 inches) in length.

Juveniles are white with red antennae, but as they grow and molt, their orange and red coloring appears. During their younger years, they are more of a pale red or orange colour. As adults, they are very red. Their eyestalks are the same colour as their body and are thick. Their walking legs are thick and strong for climbing.

In Australia they are restricted to islands and coral cays of the Great Barrier Reef where they have been found to scavenge on sea terns, tortoise eggs and other crabs. They are most active at a relative humidity of about 80% and a temperature of about 80°F. They can live for around 30 years in the wild. In captivity they have been known to live for about 32 years.

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Strawberry Land Hermit Crab