Hermit Crabs

A shrimping foray between Cliif End and Fairlight Cove this morning was soon abandoned as it was too windy and rough, though I did catch and photograph a couple of Plaice.
It being full low tide I wandered around for some time, and was rewarded by finding 2 Hermit Crabs in shallow pools, One in a winkle shell and the other in a smaller Reticulated Dog Whelk shell. I had previously photographed a hermit crab in the latter shell some weeks previously when introduced to shrimping by Cliff and Basil Dean.

Both the crabs today appeared to be of the same species, the picture [winkle shell] shows that the right claw, from the crabs point of view, is the largest, which is evidently the case for most hermit crabs found in UK waters. However the one caught a few weeks ago [actually July 4] had the left claw as the largest. This seems to mean that it is a species with splendid scientific and English names: Diogenes pugilator, the “South Claw Crab ” [I don’t know much about sport, but do know that a boxer who leads with his left fist is called a south-paw ]. See Wikipedia for the Diogenes allusion.
The crab today could be the Common Hermit Crab, Pagurus bernhardus , hard to say. Both wonders of nature without a doubt.


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