Hermit Crabs Life Cycle

Hermit Crabs Life Cycle

The hermit crab's lifecycle and growth is very interesting, but also delicate. Especially when they hatch from the eggs, they are in the most delicate state. If you have a hermit crab, it would be interesting to learn about it lifecycle. These little creatures do make wonderful pets that are fascinating to watch.


There are 2 kinds of hermit crabs, terrestrial and aquatic. Most people have aquatic crabs as pets and they are more commonly found in pet shops. There are 4 major phases in a hermit crab's life cycle.

The first one is mating. The mating of a male and female hermit crab starts the lifecycle of the young ones. The male knocks on the female crab’s shell gently to bring out the female. The female needs to stretch the body so that the sperms from the male hermit crab enter the female’s gonopores. This is where the eggs are stored. After fertilization of the eggs, the female carries them around. These eggs are attached to the female's abdomen. The eggs are protect from the predators and are also kept safe. A female carries hundreds of eggs in the abdomen.

The life cycle of the crab starts in the egg. The bigger the female crab, the more eggs she carries. Two of the stages of the lifecycle called as baupilis and protozoa occur in the abdomen of the female mother crab. When the eggs are ready to hatch, the female moves towards the ocean during low tide. The eggs are deposited on the rocks and allowed to hatch. During the high tide the waves will wash over them and carry the young ones into the ocean.

On hatching, the babies do not resemble a hermit crab. They are called zoae and in this stage of their lifecycle they soon look like tiny shrimps. They attach themselves to a plankton and travel in the ocean swimming around. In this stage, they are vulnerable to the predators and often fall prey to larger creatures like the fish. The ocean currents carry the zoae to various parts because of the current.

The hermit crab undergoes molting several times. Some go through as many as six molting which could last for a week. In this stage, they go through major transformation and start looking like the hermit crab. They are called glaucothoe in this stage. The crab can now swim and walk. But they spend their time in ocean looking for shells. Several hermit crabs do not go through the life cycle and die in their shells. A hermit crab that survives takes over the shell of a dead one to continue its lifecycle.

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