One of the smallest hermit crabs molted the other day. I saw his (her?) old carapace floating in the current. A couple of days later, I found him, high up in the eelgrass, clinging desperately to a swirling blade. He was still out of his shell, possibly because he'd grown too much after the molt to fit back in. These are hermits that like to wear their
So here was little "Jade", all alone, unable to hang out with the others, where he would be in danger of a quick swipe from the big crab's pincer, and needing a shell. He would have to go down to get one eventually.
|All hunched over, holding on tight.,|
The next day, when I checked, he was still at the top of the tank, still bare naked. I wondered if maybe he hadn't been able to find a big enough shell. I looked , and couldn't find any either, so I dug out a handful from my dry storage; different sizes, different species; should be something there to fit!
A few hours later, he was down on the bottom, feeding happily, wearing the biggest of the shells I had provided, a long, pointy mudsnail shell. Good! So from now on, I'd be able to recognize him. That makes two of the small ones identifiable.
One step forward, one step back. This afternoon, I noticed that the little heap of substitute shells was gone. And sitting where it used to be, was the cute, peek-a-boo, pearl-lined shell that "Teeny" had been wearing. Two of the other small hermits had changed shells, too; gotta keep up with the season's new styles.
Which one is Teeny? I have no idea. At least, I know Jade, for now.