My Name Is Halloween

Halloween hermit crab (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday’s peregrine news pre-empted this Halloween post, so here it is a day late.

The Halloween hermit crab (Ciliopagurus strigatus) lives in cone-shaped shells on coral, rubble, and rocky reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Just two inches long, he forages at night on meat, carrion, seaweed and algae. His scavenging behavior makes him a useful cleaner-upper in reef aquariums.

However, watch out! The Halloween hermit crab is belligerent. He will …

  • Fight other hermit crabs for a desirable shell.
  • Steal an occupied shell by yanking a weaker hermit crab out of it. (This means death for the homeless crab.)
  • Trample and ruin flat corals,
  • Steal food from the mouths of large corals,
  • Eat docile bottom-dwelling fish in the aquarium.

If this crab is not fed meat, he eats his neighbors.

Not a compliant pet. Scary!

(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the original)

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