Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nose to the glass

A few random aquarium shots, taken while I waited for a hermit to try on a new shell.

"First dibs!"

Very small crab, just outside his present burrow underneath an oyster.

These crabs always amaze me. I knew he was digging under the oyster before he appeared at his front door, because the whole oyster was bouncing up and down. And the oyster is at least 10 times his length and width, thick and solid. And yet, the crab, standing on his tippy-toes, bounces the whole thing on his back.

I weighed a rock that a crab lifted a couple of years ago; the rock was at least 100 times the crab's weight!

Tiny hermit in an unusual shell. It looks like two broken shells cemented together.

In the second-hand shop, looking over used shells. Someone chose the polka-dot one, and is wearing it today.

Val, festooned as usual, with broken shells and a red algae scarf.

Barnacle eater, looking for the barnacle patch after I moved it. A channelled dogwinkle, probably. The shell is a deep, purplish blue.

Algae-eating snails, like the mud snails and the limpets, move along the glass, their jaws moving rhythmically, cleaning off microscopic algae as they go. Looking closely, I can even see the radula, the belt of tiny teeth inside the mouth.

These predatory snails just hurry about their business; their mouth is never seen on the glass. When they reach a barnacle, they extend a proboscis with the scraping radula* on its tip, bore through the barnacle's shell, inject digestive juices, and then suck out the semi-liquid mess. From an observer's point of view, all that can be seen is a snail stuck on a barnacle, and then later, an empty barnacle shell.

*Microscopic photos and diagrams of this can be found on A Snail's Odyssey.


  1. It looks like your aquarium has been doing well since the move. - Margy

    1. They have. They especially like the fresh water from the ocean, instead of the artificial "Instant Ocean" they lived in before.

  2. Fantastic shots, as always. Thanks for sharing your invertebrate adventures with us. I also popped over to check out the microscopic photos on A Snail's Odyssey-- so cool!


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