Tube Hermit Crab – Calcinus tubularis

The Tube Hermit Crab, also known as the Colourful Hermit Crab, is a species in the order of the Decapoda and thus belongs to the subphylum of the Crustacea. Calcinus tubularis was first described by Linnaeus in 1767.

Tube Hermit Crab Calcinus tubularis Crustacea decapoda species diving canary islands canaries atlantic ocean
Tube Hermit Crab – Calcinus tubularis


The pinchers of the Tube Hermit Crab are striking. They are intense red with blue dots. The last limbs of all legs are white-red striped.

Its eyes protude clearly from the body and their stalks are also white-red striped.

Variations in colour and patterns are possible, but an intense red and blue colour are always present.

Calcinus tubularis reaches a maximum size of 3cm.

Habitat and Distribution

One finds the Tube Hermit Crab on a solid ground, in depths under the tidal zone down to 70m.

If you have a good eyes, you will be able to observe it often while diving in the Canaries.

Its distribution area also spreads over Madeira, Cape Verde, Ascension, the Portuguese and Spanish Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean Sea.


Calcinus tubularis feeds on algae and plankton.

In addition, it is one of two known species of hermit crabs, in which one has observed that males and females inhabit different housings. While males mostly inhabit snail houses of the species Pisania maculosa and Cerithium vulgatum, females usually live in the tubes of Lementina arenaria.