Coenobita clypeatus is a terrestrial hermit crab found in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Living in humid areas this terrestrial hermit crab is a nocturnal scavenger that uses a gastropod shell to protect its soft body parts. These creatures are extremely social, foraging and traveling in groups. While C. clypeatus is extremely social the species is known to be aggressive towards other hermit crabs in their group to steal better fitting shells. C. clypeatus is also cannibalistic and will eat vulnerable molting crabs. While the purple pincher hermit crab is terrestrial it must return to the water to spawn and release it's larvae into the ocean.
In Bermuda the purple pincher hermit crab has an extremely small population. In 1994 their populations was estimated to be only 150 individuals. The current state of the C. clypeatus population pales in comparison to the population of the 1950s. The purple pincher hermit crab was said to be found every where on Bermuda, now it is only found in a single bay on the south shore. Recent research has pointed to shell availability as the determining factor in population size. Unfortunately there are no Bermudian laws protecting the dwindling C. clypeatus population.