There's always something new ...
In a comment on my last post, a photo of two hermit crabs, blogger Sara Rall asked about snail fur. Snail fur? I'd never heard of it!
I had already spent several hours examining shells under the microscope, wondering about the multi-coloured algae growing on the hermits' shells, but it all seems to grow as if it were painted on the shells.
|Pink and greens on an old shell.|
|Different shell, more pinks, with purple.|
|Pink and green, with matching anemone, on moon snail shell.|
After Sara asked about snail fur, I headed for Google. Yes, there is such a thing! It's a hydroid that grows on old snail shells used by hermit crabs on both coasts of the Atlantic. Does it live here on the shores of the Pacific, too? Google didn't tell me. Only one way to find out; look for it.
|Hydractina echinata, snail fur. Plate by George James Allman, Wikipedia.|
Hydractinia echinata forms pinkish-brown (when alive) or plain brown (when dead) patches on gastropod shells that are occupied by a hermit crab, often near the aperture of the shell. The horny mat or hydrorhiza is about three millimetres thick. It consists of thick jagged spines that reach three millimetres in height. (Wikipedia)
|Hairy hermit, with worm and bryozoans. Or are they hydroids? 2016.|
|Hermit with fuzzies. 2017|
|Whelk with snail fur. Photo: By H. Zell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33445475|
|Grainy hand hermit, with fuzzy shell, and an anemone in the tip.|
|White fuzz on a whelk.|
|Zooming in. White hairs. I don't see hydroid structures.|
"Hydractina echinata hace manchas color de café rosado (en vivo) o de café (cuando está muerto) en conchas de gastrópodos ocupadas por cangrejos ermitaños, frecuentemente cerca de la boca de la concha. La capa córnea (hydrorhiza) está cerca de 3 mm. de grueso, consistente en espinas gruesas, dentadas, como de 3mm de alto." (Wikipedia)