​Population dynamics and epibiont associations of hermit crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Paguroidea on Dog Island, Florida

F. Sandford

Memoirs of Museum Victoria Vol 60 (1) p. 45–52 (2003)



Periodic belt transects and daily shoreline surveys in January and in June–July over a 10–year period (1992–2001) were used to study the seven species of hermit crabs most common in the upper intertidal zone of a low energy bay with a 960 m shoreline at the east end of Dog Island, Florida, and their association with three common shell epibionts in the area: the Florida hermit–crab sponge, Pseudospongosorites suberitoides, the cloak anemone, Calliactis tricolor, and the hydrozoan Hydractinia echinata. Of 15,052 hermit crabs sampled, Pagurus longicarpus, Pagurus pollicaris, and Pagurus impressus were prevalent in January (88% of all animals) and Clibanarius vittatus dominated in the summer (86% of all animals). The following associations were highly significant: P. impressus with P. suberitoides, P. pollicaris with H. echinata, and Petrochirus diogenes with C. tricolor. C. vittatus rarely had anemones, and P. impressus were never found in shells with H. echinata and showed a significant tendency, whether in sponge or shell shelters, to become stranded compared to other pagurid species. Hermit crab sponges were commonly used as shelters by only two of the hermit crab species, P. impressus and Paguristes hummi. Together these two species accounted for 99% of the 1077 animals found in sponges. Hermit crab sponges varied yearly in abundance from plentiful to uncommon, and nearly half (1030 of 2107, or 49%) were empty.


Sandford, F., 2003. Population dynamics and epibiont associations of hermit crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Paguroidea on Dog Island, Florida. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 60: 45-52. http://doi.org/10.24199/j.mmv.2003.60.6


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