|One of the smaller hairy hermits, wearing a live barnacle on his shell. On Barnacle Mountain.|
|Young proliferating anemone. They live on their mother's column until they feel ready to leave home, then detach and float off to a new site. There are about half a dozen scattered around the tank, and another few still clinging to Mom.|
|Flatworm on the wall, carrying a small snail. Supper's cooking!|
|Making a snail taco.|
|A mouthful of snail meat. The shell has been dropped. A new outfit for a small hermit!|
|One of my tiniest hermits. These are sometimes orange, sometimes dark brown and white. I don't think they're hairies; they don't get much bigger than this.|
|Face shot of a small red shrimp|
|Snowy, again. Growing up, getting braver. His eyes are green now, his body a bit speckled.|
|Snowy molted. And I found his carapace before it crumbled.|
I've been trying to determine his species; it's difficult, him being so small and so elusive. So I was glad to get an entire carapace, to see the shape and count the teeth. And I'm still not quite sure, but I think he's a baby red rock crab.
The carapace of adults is deep brick red in color and has 5 teeth that protrude anteriorly between the eyes. Nine teeth that line the edge of the carapace lateral to each eye have a somewhat fluted appearance, like pie crust. Carapace shape has been described as being fan shaped or shaped like the letter “D”. The pinchers have black tips. Juvenile red rock crabs are quite variable in carapace color and pattern, the patterns sometimes being quite exotic. (WSU BW)
5 teeth between the eyes: check.
9 teeth along the edge: probably; hard to see clearly.
Fan-shaped carapace: check. It's bumpy, too; the Dungeness crab has a smooth carapace.
Black-tipped pincers: looks like that's where he's going; there's a faint purplish tinge to the tips now.
|Small bubble shell, wearing green algae.|
Every batch of eelgrass comes home with a fair number of limpets, mostly quite small. They trundle about, cleaning the eelgrass, cleaning the walls, sometimes sleeping for a day or two. As long as they stay stuck to anything, they do well; if at any time they lose their grip and fall to the sand, they are eaten within minutes. The hermits hold them in one pincer, open side up, like a bowl of stew, picking out the meat with the other pincer.
With a sea star or two in the tank, things change; only on the eelgrass are they safe. Wherever the sea star can get a solid grip, he can rip the limpet away from his base. This large one (above) only lasted a few days.