Postcard from the Reef – Different Occupants

Snails move at a surprising speed underwater, much faster than their terrestrial counterparts. This shell was moving much to fast even for a marine snail. A hermit crab, of course. The shell was familiar, I had photographed a snail wearing the same shell a few mere minutes earlier. The hermit crab was using a basket snail shell.

Pimpled Basket Snail
Pimpled basket (Nassarius papillosus) displaying it’s odd polka dot color scheme, depth 25′ at Puakō
Pale Anemone Crab
Pale anemone crab (Dardanus deformis) using a pimpled basket snail shell at 30ft depth, Puakō
The pimpled basket snail is quite common, finding a couple of them in the course of a night dive is no real surprise. Finding and photographing the same type of shell, with two different occupants is an odd serendipity.

In the course of identifying the hermit crab I was surprised to learn it was an anemone crab. These usually host an anemone or three on their shells. This crab had none. A new shell? No time yet to recruit the usual anemone? It was fairly small for the species, perhaps a young example.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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