Monday, 1 June 2015

The White Spotted Hermit Crab Carries A Mobile Home

A detailed close up of a White Spotted Hermit Crab in Mombasa Marine National Reserve, Kenya

The White Spotted Hermit Crab - Dardanus Megistos - is a lovely little crustacean that can be found while scuba diving along the outer reef or while snorkeling in the lagoons of the Indian Ocean. Growing up to about 20cm in size, its beautiful red color dotted with white spots makes it quite unmistakable compared to the other 1000 global hermit crab species. Its lovely color contrast and the fact that it is very approachable makes it a real nice subject to photograph underwater.

Contrary to the belief that hermit crabs grow bigger together with their shells, the reality is that as the individual grows, it actually has to vacate its now tightening mobile home in order for it to attain a large healthy body size. To do this it first needs to identify a suitable home, then vacate its current shell to move into the bigger one! A homeless hermit crab would not even last a minute on the open sea bed as it would quickly be devoured by a predator. 

The search for an already vacant home can be a long and arduous task so most of the time, one hermit would need to fight with another hermit crab of the same or different species in order for it to commandeer its new residence. 


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