A few months ago a small kelp crab hitchhiked a ride home hidden in a clump of rockweed. He is thriving in my tank, and has molted three times already. I caught him in the process this time, although he was as well hidden as he could be, with glass walls all around. Once he was done with his old carapace and the hermits had cleaned it, I fished it out of the tank.
|The carapace, out of water.|
|With a ruler. It measured under 3 cm.|
Crabs molt when their outer structure is too small for the growing critter inside. They must feel squeezed, like when you're trying to cram yourself into your teen-aged jeans. As soon as they're free, they expand; legs, carapace, antennae, eyes and all.
|He's not too happy, because I just stole the piece of red alga he was hiding behind.|
|With a ruler against the tank wall. And a limpet.|
|While we're at it, here are a couple of lines of hooks over the head. Is this what he hooks his hats on?|