Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Pod critters

I found a container of old shells, imported from who knows where, in a thrift shop. My hermits always need shells, and a bit of variety is always welcome (from a very human point of view). I brought home the shells, washed them thoroughly to remove any dust or foreign substances, soaked them overnight, boiled them in several changes of water, just to make sure, and added a few to the aquarium.

The hermits liked three of them. The rest, they rolled over a few times, then abandoned. Not the right shape, not the right taste, maybe just unfamiliar; whatever the reason, the ones I thought were prettiest were just not good enough.

Nothing goes to waste. Several orange-striped green anemones promptly moved into the unpopular shells, and an amphipod claimed another.

Cozy hiding place.

Amphipod, belly up. Feeling safe in there, it seems. And another five, in more usual poses.

These were down at the bottom of the tank, where the glass is much scratched from shelly critters trying to climb it. I blurred out or erased as many of the scratches as I could, without touching any of the copepods. There are dozens, small and smaller, some so pale they are almost invisible against the white shell.

The copepods trailing a second section are females with their egg masses. Some of these egg masses are definitely baby blue, others are white. But all the copepods have the one red eye, sometimes the only thing visible.

The orangey rods are probably limpet poop.


  1. So much going on in your tank. My ex-husband (back when he was my husband) brought me a beautiful conch shell from the Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, he brought it snail and all. He was in the air force so it wasn't a problem getting it home. But once it arrived it was a smelly mess. I stuck it in my parent's back yard for a very long time and little critters cleaned it out for me. I still have it, the shell that is. - Margy

  2. Sometimes I find an old shell somewhere (not on the beach) that looks fine until I soak it and boil it, then old, dried snail meat falls out. Someone dried it away from backyard critters to clean it out. Museums use carpet beetle larvae to do the same job.


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