03 March 2012


Great footage of hermit crabs checking out potential new digs. Including an unlikely looking glass house made from a broken bottle.

Filmmakers Anna & Ned DeLoach wrote about filming hermits at their fun site, The Blennywatchers Blog:

The straight bottle lacked the spiral of a shell so the crab had trouble gaining traction but it gave us an excellent view of the parts of the hermit crab that we would never see otherwise. Click here to read the article Ned and I wrote about the encounter in Scuba Diving Magazine.

Very large hermit crab making queen triton shell home. Hawaii, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Credit: NOAA Photo Library via Flickr.
Hermit crabs have been using gastropod shells since at least the late Cretaceous, 99–65 million years ago.

Before that they used ammonite shells—as you can see in the fossils below.

Fossil hermit crabs in ammonite shells. Via RMCG. 

Sometimes other creatures make homes on hermit crab homes. 
In the photo below you can see an anemone living atop a snail shell that a hermit crab has commandeered. The crabs place anemones on their shells as stinging defenders. 

Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program via Flickr.

And some anemones are home to the symbiotic algae known as zooxanthellae.

As I wrote in my new OnEarth article, The End of a Myth:
Honing our technological eyesight, we begin to observe what was once too small to be seen, in an exercise that mirrors infinity.
Credit: Ian Yarret via The Robert Savage Image Award at Swarthmore.

The red cells are symbiotic zooxanthellae inside the tissues of the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida.

H/T @deepdeanews and @echinoblog for the video link.
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