Pagurus is a genus of shell-dwelling crustaceans, commonly known as "hermit crabs". They are diverse and abundant around the world, and they have been the subject of countless studies by ecologists and population biologists. The fact that hermit crabs inhabit snail shells has probably directed the evolution of their carapaces and appendages along certain narrow pathways, and this phenomenon of convergence has produced a tangled taxonomy and classification for the group. Dr. Patsy McLaughlin proposes an ambitious study of the 147 described species of hermit crabs, in which she will describe larval, juvenile, and adult characteristics. Rearing protocols will provide a wealth of new data on the developmental pathways of individual species. The resulting data will form the foundation for future analyses of evolutionary relationships within this group. The proposed research will have a wide audience beyond the community of hermit crab systematists. Marine ecologists and zoogeographers, functional morphologists, developmental biologists, and a variety of other disciplines will use the resulting evolutionary relationships as a framework for future comparative studies. Evolutionary biologists will appreciate this study's focus on how mechanical constraints of growth and function can channel the path of evolution.