Hermit crab shells as a limiting resource (Decapoda: Paguridea).
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A sample of 1546 gastropod shells (8 spp.) of which 96.7% contained the hermit crab Clibanarius vittatus from the bay side of Galveston Island, Texas, USA was analyzed to determine if shells are a limiting resource. Berried females were found in shells too small for maximum egg production. A shortage of adequate-sized shells at any stage of the life history may reduce reproductive potential. Most of the larger crabs were males which were excluding females from shells that could increase reproductive output, but at the same time larger males are probably more effective in mating.