Saturday, January 29, 2011

Last year's critters finally get ID'd.

I'm still following up on the orange* hermit crabs and their snail shells. I've gone over all my stored photos of that section of beach, looking for the logs, to see how long they've been there, but without luck. Without looking closely, they're just nondescript rotting wood; I must have deleted any photos of them.

I found more photos of the hermits, though.

Hermits, small and medium.

We found these just off Kwomais Point, between Crescent Beach and White Rock. The little ones raced around in my bowl at home, fast and faster, staying together, mostly circling and climbing all over the three or four big ones, looking like kids staying close to Mommy.

Because of the size, and the striped legs, I assumed they were hairy hermits, Pagurus hirsutiusculus, like the large ones. I thought the colour was just pale because they were juveniles. I should have looked a bit closer. One, who had panicked and ditched her shell, was obviously a mature female; she was carrying a batch of eggs.

Greenmark hermit, Pagurus caurinus, nude and in berry.

These went in the aquarium, but unfortunately did not survive the summer. It may be that they need the water to remain cooler, or saltier, than the other two species do. Both groups I found have been closer to open water than the hairy hermits' main hangouts. I'll keep a close watch on the new ones this year.

*I've been calling them "orange hermits", but the usual name is "Greenmark hermit". I wonder which green mark the name refers to. This one has green on the carapace, but the others don't.

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