This newfound hermit crab finds shelter in corals, not shells | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News

This newfound hermit crab finds shelter in corals, not shells

Symbiotic find is surprising as these corals already pal up with another critter: marine worms

By
2:57pm, September 20, 2017
hermit crab

UNDERWATER MOBILE HOME  A newly discovered hermit crab species is the first known to use mobile corals as a covering, rather than scavenged shells.

A new species of hermit crab discovered in the shallow waters of southern Japan has been enjoying the perks of living like a peanut worm. Like the worms, the 7- to 8-millimeter-long hermit crab uses corals as a covering, researchers report September 20 in PLOS ONE.

Other kinds of hermit crabs live in coral reefs, but typically move in and out of a series of mollusk shells as the crabs grow. Diogenes heteropsammicola is the first hermit crab known to form a mutually beneficial relationship with two species of mobile corals called walking corals. Unlike more familiar coral species, these walking corals don't grow in colonies and aren't attached to the seafloor. Instead, each host coral grows with and around a crab, forming a cavity in the coral skeleton that provides a permanent home for the crustacean. In exchange, the crab helps the coral &ldquo

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content