Strange Creatures from the Planet Earth


Hermit Crabs and Other Strange Creatures from the Planet Earth



Pagurus pollicaris

(Flat-clawed hermit crab)
in the shell of a moon snail
  We humans are lucky to share our planet with an incredible variety of strange creatures.

 Since most of our wonderful planet is covered with seawater, many of the Earth's creatures live under the sea.

I will share some of my favorite animals with you on these pages. I will begin with a few sea animals and add more as my website grows and as I take more photographs. 

The marine hermit crab at the top of this page is usually known as the flat-clawed hermit crab, but it is also called the broad-clawed hermit crab and it's sometimes known as the thumb-claw hermit crab. 

All these different names for the same animal can sure be confusing. That's why scientists all over the world use the same scientific name, Pagurus pollicaris. Many other species of hermit crabs belong to this same genus, Pagurus. The little hermit crab on the right belongs to this genus.  It is a member of the genus Pagurus and the species longicarpus. The scientific name is Pagurus longicarpus. It is usually called the long-clawed hermit crab. 

 Pagurus longicarpus
(Long-clawed hermit crab)
in the shell of a periwinkle



Like most hermit crabs, these little animals live under the sea. 
pollicaris grows to about 4 inches total length while P. longicarpus only grows to about 1 inch. Both of these hermit crabs live along the Atlantic coast of North America. The little long-clawed hermit crab is quite common in tide pools. The flat-clawed hermit crab is more likely to be in somewhat deeper water, though I sometimes see them at very low tide on sandy beaches. 
There are more than 500 species of hermit crabs in oceans all over the Earth. Most of them must live under the sea water to survive, though they can usually stay out of the water for a short time.

In warm climates, there are a few hermit crab species which live mostly on the land rather than the ocean. You may have seen some of these in the pet stores. 

The most common land or terrestrial hermit crab seen in the stores in the U.S. is Coenobita clypeatus, sometimes called the purple pincer hermit crab. They are found in the wild from the southern tip of Florida south to Venezuela, and on the islands of the Caribbean. They need a warm climate to survive, so if you have one as a pet be sure to keep the temperature close to 75 degrees F (24 degrees C). 



Comb Jellies are fascinating creatures. I made a very short video of a few: 

Comb Jellies Video

Comb Jelly from Michael Glaser on Vimeo.




All text and illustrations on this site are copyright Michael Glaser 1983-2012, unless noted. If you would like to contact me with any questions, or if you have any comment about the site, I would love to hear from you! Please send email to: