Living with Nature - School on Blog
A hermit crab retracted into a shell of Acanthina punctulata and using its claws to block the entrance.
Dardanus calidus (top, left); Pagurus bernhardus with shell and naked showing the soft vulnerable abdomen. Hermit crabs are decapod crustaceans of Phylum Arthropoda, superfamily Paguroidea with around 1100 species. The hermit crab has asymmetrical abdomen concealed in an empty gastropod shell which it carries around. Unlike the turtle, the hermit crab can leave its shell for another, particularly after molting to find a bigger shell.
I love the hermit crab, living a life confident and courageous in the wild on the most unstable habitat - the intertidal zone, where land and sea incessantly battle with the tides, terrestrial at one time, aquatic in the next, twice a cycle each day.
I love the hermit crab, its prudent and independent living that many humans look up in the midst of social difficulties and trials, for the hermit crab can easily adopt to a solitary existence or collective life with its own kind as well as other organisms that constitute the ecosystem.
I love the hermit crab, it is one of Nature's housekeepers on the shore line and estuaries, subsisting on dead organisms and their waste, as well as organic materials swept and left by the tides on the shores, reefs and mudflats, and converting them into detritus that fertilizes plants, algae and plankton.
I love the hermit crab for its special adaptation to live in borrowed "houses" - discarded shells, transferring from one to another as it grows, without which its frail and soft body would become easy prey and highly vulnerable to prey and the harsh environment.
I love the hermit crab for being a master of camouflage as well as mimicry, and for its ability to lock itself completely in its shell sealed by its large pincer, and feigning dead, then stealthily scampering to safely even under a watchful eye.
I love the hermit crab for its benevolence to other creatures, carrying on its back anemones, sea weeds, polyps of corals, and their own symbionts in countless numbers, many of which depend on the crab's morsels.
I love the hermit crab for reminding me of my own life, a hermit when in need of quiet and privacy, when in need of a wide space to grow, when in need to search for a place in this wide, wide world - and when in need to become part of the fold again.
Glass house for the hermit crab - an artist's work.