A hermit crab (Anapagurus hyndmanni)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Anapagurus hyndmanni is a hermit crab that inhabits the shells of gastropods. Its body consists of a thorax encased by a carapace, a six segmented abdomen and a telson. The head region characteristically bears one pair each of stalked eyes, antennules, antennae, mandibles, maxillules, maxillae and three pairs of maxillipeds. It can be recognised by its asymmetrical abdomen and only has pleopods on the left side. The posterior pleopod is modified into a hook. It is differentiated from other members of the genus by the antennule being three times the length of the eyestalk, and by the right claw being almost hairless.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Anapagurus hyndmanni is distributed around the coasts of Britain but is absent from the west coast of Ireland, the northeast coast of Scotland and the southeast coast of England.

Global distribution

Anapagurus hyndmanni is also found in the mediterranean from north of the Bay of Biscay to Portugal and the Alboran Sea.


Anapagurus hyndmanni inhabits mud, sand and gravel from low water to 35 m but has been recorded at as deep as 200 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Carapace grows up to 1 cm in length.
  • Triangular carapace shape with straight edges.
  • Broad, rounded rostrum.
  • The right claw is much bigger than the left claw, very fat and whitish in colour.
  • Pleopods only on left-hand side.
  • Fifth pleopod is modified into a hook.
  • No setae are present on the outside of the claws.
  • Antennule are three times the length of the eyestalk.
  • Third maxillipeds are close together.

Additional information


Listed by

- none -


  1. Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  2. Costello, M.J., Bouchet, P., Boxshall, G., Emblow, C. & Vanden Berghe, E., 2004. European Register of Marine Species [On-line]. http://www.marbef.org/data/erms.php,

  3. Crothers, J.H. & Hayeard, P.H., 2004. Lobsters, mud shrimps and anomuran crabs. Synopses of the British Fauna, New Series, 55.

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  7. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  8. Ingle, R., 1993. Hermit crabs of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. An illustrated key. London: Natural History Museum Publications, Chapman & Hall.

  9. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.


  1. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01

  2. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset:https://doi.org/10.15468/aru16v accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  3. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  4. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-06-12


This review can be cited as:

Richards, S. 2007. Anapagurus hyndmanni A hermit crab. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 12-06-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/36

Last Updated: 14/08/2007