The junior homonym Coenobita Gistl, 1848 is now the moth genus Ectropis.

The genus Coenobita contains 17 species of terrestrial hermit crabs.[1]

Caribbean hermit crab.JPG
Caribbean hermit crab, C. clypeatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Coenobitidae
Genus: Coenobita
Latreille, 1829
Type species
Pagurus clypeatus
Fabricius, 1787 [1]


Coenobita species carry water in the gastropod shells they inhabit, allowing them to stay out of water for a long time.[2]


The majority of the species are found in the Indo-Pacific region, with only one species in West Africa, one species occurring along the Atlantic coast of the Americas, and one species occurring on the Pacific coast of the Americas.[3]

Image Species Authority Year Distribution [3]
  Coenobita brevimanus Dana 1852 Indo-Pacific
Coenobita carnescens Dana 1851 Pacific Ocean
  Coenobita cavipes Stimpson 1858 Indo-Pacific
  Coenobita clypeatus (Fabricius) 1787 Western Atlantic
  Coenobita compressus H. Milne-Edwards 1836 Eastern Pacific
Coenobita longitarsis De Man 1902 East Indies
Coenobita olivieri Owen 1839 Pacific Ocean
  Coenobita perlatus H. Milne-Edwards 1837 Indo-Pacific
Coenobita pseudorugosus Nakasone 1988 Indo-Pacific
  Coenobita purpureus Stimpson 1858 Japan
Coenobita rubescens Greeff 1884 West Africa
  Coenobita rugosus H. Milne-Edwards 1837 Indo-Pacific
Coenobita scaevola (Forskål) 1775 Indian Ocean, Red Sea
  Coenobita spinosus H. Milne-Edwards 1837 Polynesia & Australia
  Coenobita variabilis McCulloch 1909 Australia
  Coenobita violascens Heller 1862 Pacific Ocean


Coenobita is closely related to the coconut crab, Birgus latro, with the two genera making up the family Coenobitidae. The name Coenobita was coined by Pierre André Latreille in 1829, from an Ecclesiastical Latin word, ultimately from the Greek κοινόβιον, meaning "commune"; the genus is masculine in gender.[4]


  1. ^ a b Patsy McLaughlin (2009). Lemaitre R, McLaughlin P (eds.). "Coenobita Latreille, 1829". World Paguroidea & Lomisoidea database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  2. ^ D. R. Khanna (2004). Biology of Arthropoda. Discovery Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-7141-897-8.
  3. ^ a b Richard G. Hartnoll (1988). "Evolution, systematics, and geographical distribution". In Warren W. Burggren & Brian Robert McMahon (ed.). Biology of the Land Crabs. Cambridge University Press. pp. 6–54. ISBN 978-0-521-30690-4.
  4. ^ Gary J. Morgan & L. B. Holthuis (1989). "Nomenclatural problems associated with the genus Coenobita Latreille, 1829 (Decapoda, Anomura)" (PDF). Crustaceana. 56 (2): 176–181. doi:10.1163/156854089X00068. JSTOR 20104437.

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