Red Hermit Crab – Dardanus calidus

The Red Hermit Crab is a species in the order of Decapoda and thus belongs to the subphylum of the Crustacea.

Red Hermit Crab Dardanus calidus Crustacea species diving canary islands atlantic ocean
Red Hermit Crab – Dardanus calidus


There is not to much to be seen of Dardanus calidus except of head and legs. Its intense red colour is striking. There are white rings on the stalks of its eyes as well as on its legs. These appear to be arranged evenly.

The rest of the body is hidden in a snail shell. Larger specimens can be found with the shells of the Giant Tun or Atlantic Triton Trumpet. Sometimes the anemone (Calliactis parasitica) is found on the housing of the Red Hermit Crab. Unfortunately, I could not observe that myself. In addition, other plants also settle on the housing.

Dardanus calidus reaches a size of up to 12cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Great Red Hermit Crab lives on rocky ground, in cave entrances and in sea grass meadows to over 100m of depth. When diving in the Canaries it can be encountered very frequently, with specimens over 10cm rather rare.

It is also spread around the Azores, the eastern Atlantic coast from Portugal to Senegal and the Mediterranean Sea.


Dardanus calidus lives solitaire. Its diet consists of carrion, which it collects from the seabed, algae, echinoderms, snails and mussels.

It sometimes lives in a symbiosis with Calliactis parasitica. The anemone gets some remnants of the crab as food and the anemone protects the Red Hermit Crab, with their stinging tentacles, from enemies.

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