Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Influences on movement and migration in the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus

I. Lancastera1 and G.D. Wighama2

a1 Penwith Sixth Form College, St Clare, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 2SA

a2 Department of Biological Sciences, Polytechnic South West, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA


Dispersion in a littoral population of Pagurus bernhardus in south-west England is shown to be random, with members demonstrating no evidence of site attachment. Movement patterns within the population are shown to be asynchronous and random, and to be dictated by the quantity and quality of each individual's shell contacts. These, in turn, affect the time that individuals spend within the habitat. This implies that population dynamics and residence times are so influenced by the availability of suitable empty gastropod shells that movement and migration in hermit crabs should be regarded as resource-dependent phenomena.