Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Showy dressers

When I pick up a hermit crab on the beach, he's generally a grungy brownish black colour, maybe, if the sun is bright and he's not scrunched too tightly into his shell, showing a spot of blue on a knee, or a hint of orangey-red on an antenna. In everyday light, he matches the muddy sand he lives on. It makes sense out here where blending in is protection against becoming lunch for a sharp-eyed gull.

So I am often startled by the colours of a clean hermit in washed sand, under bright lighting.

Hairy hermit, Pagurus hirsutiusculus, with blue knees and eyes.

Zooming in.

Grainy hand hermit, Pagurus granosimamus, with orangey antennae and brown eyes.


  1. How do you take the pictures of your creatures? Are they in a salt water acquarium? If so, then you have to take the photos through glass....anyway, I'd love to know how you do it.

    I love your site and I love the critters you collect - so fascinating, fun and beautiful.

  2. Susan,
    Good question!

    My "subjects" are in a saltwater aquarium. I have to do a certain amount of prep each time; scrub the glass inside and out, to remove fresh algae growth and finger marks, adjust the lighting, wait for the water to clear, sometimes turn off the pump. Then I remove the lens filter from the camera to give me a smidgen more clarity, set up two flashes, put the camera on manual, adjust the white balance, and sit down to wait for a chance. For anything like a clear shot, the animals have to be within an inch of the glass, and relatively still. Most of my shots are still trashed.

  3. Wow!! I had no idea it was that much trouble!! Well - you can know that you have at least one very appreciative reader who loves your pictures and information. I had a fresh water acquarium for years and loved to watch the fish swim around before falling asleep. I had hermit crabs that would trash the place as they dug into the bottom, but they made me laugh. One time I had a newt that kept escaping. One day I was sitting in the living room and noticed out of the corner of my eye a large dust bunny moving slowly across the carpet. It was the newt who had fallen into dust behind the acquarium and then crawled away. I put him back and put the top on more securely. Poor guy - maybe it's just as well I no longer have acquariums, but I used to keep them clean and make sure the pump was the proper strength, etc.

  4. Thanks, Susan. I'm glad you enjoy my critters. The hermits make us laugh a lot, too.


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