Kermadec Islands - images of crustaceans

By Dr J Floor Anthoni, 2002

Lobsters, shrimps and crabs are some of the most hunted species, and in order to survive, they have developed amazing strategies to remain undetected or to to surround themselves with bastions, not built by themselves. During our short visit we were able to photograph only a few of the many species found at the Kermadecs Islands.


f031216c: several crustacean speciesAlthough the phylum of Crustacea is rather large, containing many species, divers encounter only few due to the fact that they are either small, difficult to see, or hard to identify. The ones shown in this section are thus the more conspicuous ones. Consider for a moment the enlargement of one of our photos on right. it shows a large hermit crab inside a cone shell (different from the ones shown below), but around it six smaller, other species (right bottom corner).  In the top left corner a small lobster who has its tunnel firmly embedded inside the coral. Underneath the cone shell, at its widest end, a translucent shrimp. It gives a good illustration of the difficulties to notice them all while taking photos under water and to catch them all for taxonomy.

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f032004: Barnacles (Tesseropora sp.)
f032004: The common barnacle of the Kermadecs (Tesseropora sp.) is found in shallow water and in the intertidal.
f031032: Large barnacles in the surf zone
f031032: In the surf zone one finds large barnacles (Balanus sp.) that form small barnacle trees by growing on top of one another. They are very sharp and make snorkelling in these shallows rather treacherous. 

f031212: Cleaner shrimp
f031212: The cleaner shrimp usually hides inside caves, in company with moray or conger eels which bring their prey home to eat. The shrimps then share in the spoils, but they also meticulously clean the eels and other fish. 
f031213: Hermit crab with anemones
f031213: This hermit crab has placed two anemones on its shell, perhaps for added protection, because such anemones can sting. However, when the crab grows too large for his shell, he has to find a larger one and move his animal farm over as well. We have seen a hermit crab living inside the feet of several anemones, without a shell at all.

f031223: Hermit crab
f031223: A large hermit crab has found a large top shell for its protection. The effort expended in lugging its home around, is well worth it.
f031201: Hermit crab
f031201: The same species of hermit crab, in a large whelk, which has been grown over with a coral, and then covered in red matting algae.

f031817: Spanish lobster
f031817: A female Spanish lobster hides upside down under an overhang. Her colours matching that of the pink coralline 'paint' (Lithothamnion sp.) well. These animals grow very old, always returning to their homes.