My hermit crabs have come down with spring fever. Most of the larger males are courting; some trying to convince a female to allow herself to be carried, others, each clutching his chosen mate, sitting on high places, waiting for her to molt.
|Hopeful parents, on top of the big abalone shell. Waiting.|
|With the extra light from the flash, the addition is deep blue.|
I finally got close enough to see; it's a forming pincer arm, still coiled, still without movement, but with all the parts; joints and pincer tips, well formed. Hermit crab blood is blue, which may explain the colour.
The white ovals behind it are the stubs of the missing two legs.
|The stub of one leg is clearer here.|
How does a hermit crab, bereft of hands, manage to eat? This guy holds onto something solid with one back leg, drags over a chunk of food with the pointed tip of the second leg, and then uses his first set of mouthparts, or maxillipeds, to grab it and bring it to his mouth.
|The first two maxillipeds serve as forks.|