Caribbean Hermit Crab
Sian ka'an nature reserve - Mexico.
In the language of the Mayan peoples who once inhabited this region, Sian Ka'an means 'Origin of the Sky'. Located on the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, this biosphere reserve contains mangroves and marshes that provide habitat for remarkably rich flora and fauna. One of those species is the Caribbean hermit crab. Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers, eating microscopic mussels and clams, bits of dead animals, and macroalgae. These crustaceans have been misnamed for two reasons. First, they’re not true crabs, like blue crabs, in that they don’t have a uniformly hard exoskeleton and can’t grow their shells. Instead, hermit crabs have a hard exoskeleton on the front part of their bodies but a soft tail on the other half, which they protect using the discarded shells of other animals, like whelks. They’re more closely related to certain kinds of lobsters than to true crabs.