Friday, August 21, 2009
Hermit crabs come out of their shells
There are over 60 species of hermit crabs living on New Zealand shorelines. They live in a shell because unlike normal crabs they don't have a hard exterior. In order to study the internal workings of a Hermit crab without damaging their external shell, New Zealand scientists came up with a see-through solution. A hand-blown transparent glass shell is used as a stronger and more attractive substitute for their habitual shell. Hermit crabs often resort to discarded shells of other creatures to offer protection for their soft, vulnerable bodies. Some of their legs have become specially adapted to grasp the shell tightly from the inside. Adelle O'Neill, curator from the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre and Aquarium said that it took between seven to ten days after placing a glass shell in the tank, for the hermit, that is always on the look-out for a better shell; to move into the more attractive glass home. The man-made glass shells opens up a new world for both man and crab.