Dardanus calidus (Red hermit crab)


One of few large hermit crab species in the Mediterranean, left pincer is enlarged en the tips are horn-like and black to brown. The legs are red and have whitish, pink bands higher up. They eye stalks have red and white rings. You will often see commensal anemones (Calliactis parasitica) stick to the shell of Dardanus species.


Unassessed by the IUCN Red list, but a common species in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean.


From the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, in a depth range of 3-60 meters. They can be found on both hard and soft substrates.



Up to 10cm (without its shell).

Prey / Predation

Dardanus calidus is a scavenger, they feed on detritus, snails, dead fish, anything they can find. Octopus pray on the hermit crabs, and you will often spot the octopus burrough by the empty shells just outside.

Special features

Dardanus callous live in symbiosis with the commensal anemone Calliactis parasitica. The anemone benefits by taking up food particles when the hermit crab eats, and the hermit crab enjoys protection by the stinging tentacles from the anemone. The anemones can attach and detach themselves from the shell, so that when the hermit crab changes shells, because it is getting too small, they can switch to the new one.