Thread: Coral vs Hermit Crab
01-19-2012, 05:32 AM #1
Coral vs Hermit Crab
I often check out my tank after the aquarium lights have been off for a while. I saw something tonight in my reef tank that I've never seen before.
One of my corals, a orange/green acanthastrea echinata, had snared a hermit crab with its stinging mesenterial filaments.
I turned on the tank lights to get take these photo's:
This coral deploys these nematocyst-laced filaments when attempting to seek and destroy any nearby corals; the filaments pack a powerful sting and can literally digest coral flesh on contact. The filiments actually had adhered to the hermit's shell and not its body, so it wasn't physically harmed but its movement was restricted.
The hermit struggled and was, little by little, able to move away from the coral.
The hermit was able to increased its distance from the coral another couple of inches. At this point I was getting a little concerned because the hermit was extending the filaments in the immediate vicinity of some blue zoanthids. I didn't want them to be destroyed by the acan's mesenteries.
I had turned off the light while observing this and was contemplating moving the hermit away from the zoanthids, but I had just finished washing my hands with soap and didn't want to place them in the tank.
The crab kept creeping away from the acan and the filaments looked like they would snap. But then my serpent sea star approached the scene and for some reason started tapping and touching the filaments. I tried to get a photo of that but when I turned on the lights the sea star retreated into a crevice. The acan released the hermit and 'reeled in' its filaments, dragging them across the zoa's but fortunately not stinging them.African cichlid and saltwater aquariums
01-19-2012, 10:12 AM #2
Its a strange world in a reef tank for sure. Good story and nice catches with the pics!
01-19-2012, 01:20 PM #3
Crazy stuff happens at night in the tanks! haha glad you were able to capture some of it! Very cool pictures55g Long --> After 18mo of doing well the tank crashed during moving. Most likely cause: Flatworm Die-off... won't start another until after moving... Likely not until late 2013
20g Long --> currently concoting a build plan
Check out the journal to follow my 20g SW tank
"Take a chance, because you never know how perfect some things can turn out" -- unknown
01-19-2012, 01:42 PM #4
And some people still wonder why I like watching a reef tank
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
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02-01-2012, 03:49 PM #5
Great job capturing this Epic adventure of the Hermit Crab!!! all kidding aside, it is a great job you did and I wonder if the fillaments had contacted the hermit itself if it would harm/kill it???Life is tough, it's even tougher if you're stupid (John Wayne)
If you're not angry, you are not paying attention (Ralph Nader)
9 Tanks (2-29G QT) ranging from 150G to 10G for my 1/2 moon Beta
02-04-2012, 01:09 PM #6
I imagine the hermit's exoskeleton would protect it.
I wonder if that had happened would the hermit try to snip itself free with its claws if it could reach the filaments; or if direct contact with the crab and its limbs would have made it more difficult to escape from.African cichlid and saltwater aquariums
02-04-2012, 01:19 PM #7