Watch this incredible hermit crab decorate her shell with live anemones

Crab with anenomes
CC BY 2.0 Nick Hobgood

She travels around with a garden of protective anemones adorning her home; when it's time to swap shells, she removes them from the old one and attaches them anew.

This is what I want. A team of gorgeous living anemones to A.) Decorate my home B.) Use their stinging tentacles to protect me from random cephalopods C.) Clean up my food crumbs and D.) Keep me company.

Though the fascinating anemone hermit crab (Dardanus pedunculatus) is likely only concerned with point B – protection from 8-armed predators – it remains a fascinating form of symbiosis nonetheless. The crab keeps a team of defenders on its back, the defenders (anemones) get a regular supply of food complements of the crab's messy eating habits. Yet another beautiful example of wildly different species living and working together.

And better yet, there's video footage of how the crabs move their defense team from one shell to the next. As shown here, this she-crab gently taps and wiggles them off of the newly-vacated shell and holds them down until they attach again to the new home. And the anemones submit – the crab is the only creature that can coax them to release their super-grip glue.

Watch it here, it's marvelous.

Tags: Animals | Oceans

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