Sunday, July 28, 2013

Multicoloured hermit

Grainy hand hermit crabs are shy critters. Hidden away in algae-encrusted shells, moving slowly in the dim light under the eelgrass, they often pass unnoticed. They like it that way; the next passer-by may be a hungry fish, or a shell-cracking gull.

Their curiosity, though, sometimes leads them to ignore the danger; that big world out there is so interesting! So in my tank, they come to the glass wall to see what I'm doing. When the light is right, they are exposed in all their brilliant colours.

"Hi, out there!"

This hermit molted a few days ago, and hasn't grown a protective coating of fuzzy hydroids and algae yet. He emerged from the old skin with orange patches on his knees. I've never seen that before.

A few steps away from the glass, the water dulls his colours, except for the orange antennae and flags.

He's got a passenger: look at the top of his shell, towards the back. The two little tentacles belong to one of those musical tubeworms, safely ensconced in a tiny hole in the shell.


  1. What a delightful post and hermit crab. And I love those 2 tiny antennae wayyyy up high. =)

    I was recently reading about the hyena project (in Africa, their MSU blog) and they said, believe it or not, that elephants ALSO have a way of just fading away so you don't notice. They're out there, huge, and then you look back later and they've gone. Pretty cool. I can certainly see how that would be adaptive.


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