This is a grainy hand hermit crab:
Pagurus granosimanus, Saratoga beach, Vancouver Island
He has olive-brown legs and claws, with bluish bumps, and orange-red antennae.
Here's my unfortunate Boy Blue*, with his mate, in my aquarium this spring:
Lighter olive-brown legs and claws, blue bumps, orange-red antennae.
These hermits are common; we saw many on Vancouver Island, and also here at home. Yesterday I picked up three or four in Boundary Bay.
But look at this one:
Unidentified hermit, Ocean Grove, Vancouver Island
He has the same brown claw with blue warts. The antennae, not visible in this photo, are a bright orange-red. But the legs are yellow.
Here's another, from "our" beach at the Edgewater motel:
The legs are a plain yellow, with slightly darker tips. So are the claws, with just a hint of blue spots. But the upper parts of the legs and the eyestalks and mouthparts are a deep, purplish red. And the carapace, the upper body, is grey with pinkish splotches.
We saw a fair number of these, on several Island beaches, all very small.
I have looked through my Encyclopedia and all my other marine life books, several times. I've browsed through photos on the web. I don't see this hermit anywhere. Is it a separate species? A colour morph? An invader?
The salt chuck is full of mysteries.
*Boy Blue and Rex, the hairy hermit, succumbed to indoor heat at the aquarium-sitter's while I was away. I miss them.