How to tell Gender
of Land Hermit Crabs
W. Harvey (from the Department of Biology at Georgia Southern
land hermit crabs out of the shell is straightforward. Females
have well-developed pleopods (the small legs) on on the left
side of the abdomen, and a gonopore (an opening through which
eggs or sperm are released) at the base of the second pair of
walking legs. Pleopods are absent or at best vestigial (small)
in males, and the coxae of the last pair of legs are, in most
species, produced into stout, somewhat tubular structures (the
legs have a wide, tubular look to them)."
The information in brackets was added later by me to help de-mystify
the technical words.
Jones, S. and Morgan, G.J. (1994) said of Coenobita variabilis:
and females differ only in the position of the gonopores
LAND HERMIT CRABS
always thought that hermit crabs would not breed in captivity.
Now, it seems, some have successfully bred with suitable conditions.
While we are still working out what they are, it is obvious
to all that if the hermit crabs are given enough room to move
about in; both a fresh water bowl and a salt water pond; a balanced
diet including carrion-type foods high in protein and calcium;
humidity and temperature in the ideal range; and enough shells
for growing and fussy bodies. Whilee are not sure what makes
some hermit crabs breed and others not, it is important that
their home meets all their needs, and yields a better chance
hermit crabs have successfully bred, it is much harder to successfully
hatch and raise the land hermit crabs. Since the first stage
of development of land hermit crabs is an aquatic one, the eggs
will need to be released into, or placed in, an aquatic environment
to simulate the time spent in intertidal pools as part of plankton.
about their lifecycle for more details.
you have the time and ability to raise the zoea to juvenile
(air-breathing) stages, there is little chance they will survive.
At each stage of development within the aquatic stage, the zoea
(free swimming larvae) need to be fed by hand and kept in conditions
which may be difficult for most. However, if you are able to
raise land hermit crabs to juvenile stage, there is a good chance
that the health of these offspring will be optimal, depending
on feeding and conditions.
You can read an article by Stu Wools-Cobb on The
Crab Street Journal - someone who has successfully bred
and raised land hermit crab within his home.
crab that is gravid (carrying eggs) will look like the drawing
by Alcock, below. "A female crab attaches her eggs to the
fine setae on her pleopods using a gluelike substance."
(Fox, S. 2000)
A. Text from a personal email regarding determining the gender
of a land hermit crab.Shared with permission. For more information
about Alan Harvey and his research, please visit the link below
S. and Morgan, G.J. (1994) A Field Guide to Crustaceans of
Australian Waters. Western Australian Museum. Chatswood, N.S.W.
(Australia) : Reed Books, 1994. ISBN 0 7301 0403 6
(1999 onwards). 'Crustacea, the Higher Taxa: Description, Identification,
and Information Retrieval.' Version: 2 October 1999. http://crustacea.net/
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