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.
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.
f032004: The common barnacle of the Kermadecs (Tesseropora
sp.) is found in shallow water and in the intertidal.
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: 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: 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: 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: The same species of hermit crab, in a large whelk,
which has been grown over with a coral, and then covered in red matting
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.