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Despite the common name, hermit crabs are related more closely to lobsters than to crabs. They lack a hard carapace, and adopt the empty shells of gastropod molluscs (such as whelks), carrying them around and swapping them for a larger shell as they grow (3). When seen out of a shell, hermit crabs have a bizarre appearance; the soft abdomen is twisted, which allows it to fit into the coils of the gastropod shell (4). The common hermit crab is typically reddish or brownish in colour, and has two pincers on the first pair of walking legs. The right pincer is larger than the left, and both have a rough, granular surface (4).


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