JAC the Hermit Crab Finds a New Shell

Growing up is no easy task. As a child, we quickly outgrow our clothing and shoes until we become adults. During adulthood, many of us move out from an apartment to a larger house, and those who decide to have a family may trade in their hot rod muscle car for a safer family sized vehicle. Don’t worry, we’re not alone in this continuous cycle of outgrowing and seeking new homes.

Meet Jac, a jeweled anemone crab who recently went shell shopping for a new home! Like many of us, Jac is very particular when it comes to choosing a new home. Which shell will Jac choose? Find out below!

Jac, and other hermit crabs, live inside old snail shells. While most people are familiar with hermit crabs, the jeweled anemone crab (Dardanus gemmatus) is very distinct. This little hermit crab collects two specific kinds of sea anemones (Calliactis polypus and Anthothoe sp.) and places them on the outside of its shell. By doing so, the jeweled anemone crab exhibits a mutualistic relationship where both organisms benefit.

Anemone Crab

In addition to having the protection of the outer snail shell, this hermit crab also benefits from the bright pink stinging threads of the anemones (acontia). In exchange, the anemones receive free transportation to different feeding grounds and may even get some scraps left over from the crab’s meals.

We currently have several jeweled anemone crabs on exhibit. Learn more about these dazzling crustaceans at Maui Ocean Center!

Due to the constant rotation of animals back to the ocean, the presence of any specific animal cannot be guaranteed.

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