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Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell 

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  #1  
Old 07-16-2011, 03:35 PM
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Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

He is the best-dressed crab in the country - the almost certainly the only one to sport a tailor-made suit.
This see-through shell shows off all the inner-workings of this hairy hermit crab's body.
Howard the crab is currently on display to thrilled visitors who can see all his organs through his new glass home.

On display: the see-through shell allows scientists to study the inner workings of Howard's body:
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The creature, who was named after famous recluse Howard Hughes, is the first crab in Britain to wear a bespoke shell, made specially for him by a glassblower.
It is hoped his unique home will teach visitors at the National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham, all about the distinctive animals.

Hermit crabs are known for swapping shells as they grow larger, upgrading into a larger home periodically throughout their lives.
So when experts at Sea Life planted a delicate glass shell in the shape of a whelk near to him, he upped sticks and moved in immediately. The shell, which was crafted by specialists in Vermont, is totally transparent and displays the normally hidden body and tail of the crab.

New home: When scientists placed the whelk-shaped shell in Howard's tank, he required no persuading to climb in:
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Dapper: Howard is the first crab in Britain to have a shell made specially:
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Tom Prakash, aquarist at the centre, said: 'Hermit crabs don't have very protective exoskeletons and are quite soft, so their main defence is usually to find an empty shell and live inside it. When a predator comes along, they'll shrink back into it and it looks just like an empty shell.
'As they grow, the shells will get too small and they climb out to find a new one. They'll inspect it on the inside and, if it's right for them, move in. It's just like moving house.
'So for Howard, all we had to do was put a glass one a little bit larger than the one he was occupying before in his tank. Sure enough, he swapped straight over.

Attraction: Howard is expected to draw visitors to the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham:
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'He doesn't know it but all his vulnerable organs and soft parts are now on full view. Normally you'd only see the eyes, legs and claws so he's a really fascinating subject to show off to visitors and help them learn.
'We've had a selection of bigger shells made, so when he's ready to swap again he'll just move into the next.'
Howard is a red hairy hermit crab - Dardanus megistos in Latin - and is normally found on reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, from Africa to the South China Sea.

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Old 07-16-2011, 03:50 PM
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Re: Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

that is really interesting!

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:07 PM
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Re: Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

talk about a glass house.

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:09 PM
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Re: Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

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Originally Posted by candymosh2 View Post
that is really interesting!
Clicking on the pics to the full size is even better

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:12 PM
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Re: Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

I did just that because I wanted a closer look at him curled up in the shell.

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:29 PM
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Re: Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

hope he doesn't decide to throw any stones.

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Old 07-16-2011, 05:52 PM
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Re: Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

I can't decide if he's creepy or cute

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Old 07-16-2011, 08:00 PM
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Re: Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

Nice eyes.

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Old 07-18-2011, 01:42 PM
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Re: Hermit Crab and His Custom Shell

Any creepy animal becomes cute when you give it a name like Howard.

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