Hermit Crab with Bright Blue Eyes

by B. N. Sullivan

This is the White Speckled Hermit Crab (Paguristes punticeps), a Caribbean species of the Diogenidae family.  Adults of this species grow to a length of  3 to 5 inches (about 8 to 13 cm).  These reef dwellers inhabit empty gastropod shells, tail end first, so you won't normally get to see the crab's full length.

Without the artificial light produced by the camera strobe, these crabs look dark brown with white speckles.  It's also difficult to make out those wonderful bright blue eyes without artificial light and a macro lens.  But that's why macro photography was invented, right?

Jeepers, creepers -- where'd he get those peepers?!

One of the most noticeable morphological features of this species: both of its claws (chelipeds)  are approximately equal in size.  More commonly, the claws of hermit crab species are of different sizes -- typically the left claw is larger than the right.

All of the images on this page are of the same individual, photographed during a night dive at a site known as Cumber's Caves on the north shore of Little Cayman island.


  1. Looks like you use the standard hermit crab technique... Turn their shell up and wait for them to emerge to right the shell. While waiting you can get the camera perfectly positioned. I found a very pretty cone shell hermit in a banded marble cone shell yesterday. Very nice combination. I realized this pretty shell was not going to kill me to pick up when I saw the red and yellow legs sticking out.

  2. Hi Andrew - Yeah, those legs sticking out are "the tell." :)


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Bobbie & Jerry