Gastropod Shells or Gastropod Tubes? Shelter Choice in the Hermit Crab Calcinus Verrilli

  • Lisa J. Rodrigues
  • David W. Dunham
  • Kathryn A. Coates


Calcinus verrilli, a hermit crab endemic to Bermuda, is unusual in that it inhabits both gastropod tubes (Dendropoma spp. and Vermicularia spp.) and gastropod shells (Cerithium litteratum). In the laboratory, when given a choice between shells and tubes, neither males nor females showed a significant preference for either shelter. In a Y-maze test of attraction to chemical extracts from tube- versus shell-forming gastropods, males showed no discrimination, but females collected in tubes preferred the tube-associated extract. Therefore, previous experience may be important in determination of adult preference in females.

This is contribution #1563 of the Bermuda Biological Station for Research and contribution #38 of the Bermuda Biodiversity Project.


Hermit Crab Gastropod Shell Shield Length Adult Preference Unfiltered Seawater 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa J. Rodrigues
    • 1
    • 2
  • David W. Dunham
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kathryn A. Coates
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Bermuda Biological Station for ResearchSt. George’sBermuda

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