Friday, February 27, 2015

Bouncing back

Sometimes the resilience of tiny critters bowls me over. I carefully remove every hermit and crab I can find from the sand in the aquarium, then churn the sand around, back and forth, changing the water and churning again several times, to get all the crud out. Then I pour in clean water and smooth everything out, and a pinhead-sized hermit bounces to the top, not in the least disturbed by the upheaval.

I scrub down a wall, then notice that I've dislodged an infant anemone and it's caught in my towel. No problem; I rinse out the cloth, and the anemone drifts away in the current. A bit later, I find it happily anchored on a fresh piece of seaweed.

Tonight, cleaning the tank again, I ran my fingers through the sand in one corner, looking for a tiny clam I'd seen there two days earlier. I didn't find it; it will show up eventually. But once everything was back in its place, I happened to look at that corner, and there was a miniature tubeworm, standing tall, as if there had been no major earthquake in that spot just half an hour earlier.

Feather duster worm, about 1/4 inch tall.

My hermits get in a fight. One ends up maimed, with both pincers gone. She struggles along, avoiding confrontation, holding her food with her spare mouthparts, hanging around the roots of eelgrass, unable to climb it. And then she molts, and stretches out her new pincers, still baby-sized, but serviceable. Next molt, she'll be back to normal.

"See my new hands!"


  1. Those tiny pincers are amazing. and your tube worm photo is fabulous

  2. Amazing ability for regeneration. - Margy


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