Monday, December 01, 2014

Good appetites. No table manners.

It was supper time in the tank, and I had pulled up a chair to watch the action. The hermits and crabs were chasing each other around, trying to grab a juicier shrimp pellet; yours is always tastier than mine is the rule. Hermits were raining down from the eelgrass; it's quicker just to let go and drop, and half the food was already in play.

The crabs, being bigger, bowled over a hermit or two, yanked the pellets out of their pincers, and scuttled away to eat in hiding. They're keeping everything, even the leftovers, for their own selves. "What We Have We Keep".

Val, the big burrowing anemone, had caught her share, but now hermits were crawling through her tentacles, gobbling everything they could reach, and she was folding in on herself, trying to swallow before all her meal had been stolen.

The Nassa snails were bustling here and there, siphons high, following the scent of shrimp in the current, always arriving too late; the pellets kept sprouting legs and racing away. No matter; they'd get the crumbs later on. So will the little orange striped green anemones scattered everywhere, waving open tentacles.

Tiny polychaete worms living in the kelp holdfast were hungry, too, and poking around looking for fragments. One, about the thickness of a fine pencil lead, even dared to snatch a pellet from a hermit's pincers, repeatedly. The hermit fought him off, more angrily with each attempt, until I reached in and brushed her away from the holdfast to prevent mayhem.

The bubble shells were the only ones not interested in food, apparently. They were stacked up in a pile, three-deep, mating. As usual. Later, they would lay another batch of eggs high up on the wall.

At my end of the tank, a wandering worm poked his face out of the sand right by the glass. The ones in the holdfast are a dull red; this was one of the blue and pink ones. But such a blue! And such tiny pink toesies!

He's about 2 inches long.

He slid one way, waved his head about, as if sniffing, pulled back, tried again, pulled back, went the other way, stretching out and out, so slowly, cautiously. "Sniff, sniff ... I smell shrimp! Where is it?"

The best view I've had of those feet, so far.

Zooming in. Three "toes", a couple of spines, and an orange brush on each "foot".

He gave up. The shrimp pellets had all been captured. He pulled himself back down into the sand. A while later, I saw him ease out of the sand deeper into the tank, still sniffing, still hungry.


  1. Aww … I feel a bit sorry for the wandering worm. It really is pretty with its multiple feet … too bad feeding time is such a frenzy. There is something very human about it all. :)

  2. I have to tell you yours is one of my favorite blogs. I love how you collect and maintain this little ecosystem of sea creatures. Today's post was particularly humorous. Sounds like the line at Golden Corral at dinnertime.......

  3. What a cool ecosystem you have!

  4. Beautiful wandering worm. On the topic of creepy (or beautiful, depending on your persuasion) things that wander, here's a wandering weta:

    I think of this bug when I visit your blog, though I know that's not your intention.

  5. Hi, Maria! Yes, sometimes our relatedness shows up more than others.

    Tim, I didn't know of these! Good thing I spelled my handle with two ees!

    (It was the name chosen for me by one of my granddaughters; her pronunciation of "abuelita", "grandma" in Spanish.) She's grown past that stage now, but the name stayed on.

  6. Thanks, Susan! Made my day!


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