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Dardanus pedunculatus usually attain a maximum size of 10 centimetres (4 in). The carapace is mottled in tan and cream, while the eyestalks are white with red bands. The sexes are similar. The left claw is much larger than the right claw.
D. pedunculatus usually lives on Indo-Pacific coral reefs and in the intertidal zone, at depths of 1–27 metres (3–89 ft). It usually carries sea anemones on its shell, which it uses to protect itself from its main predator, cephalopods of the genus Octopus. The anemones are collected at night. The crab strokes and taps the anemone until it loosens its grip on the substrate, at which point it is moved onto the gastropod shell that the hermit crab inhabits.