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106 days old. This adorable little guy is 106 days old. My last full count (January 8th) showed 204 survivors (out of 244 that exited the water in shells and walked onto land). A full count takes many hours, a complete tank change, and several days of follow-up because when they are this small some are always underground molting. These counts are time-intensive but important since I’m tracking survival rates over time for these very unique captive-bred individuals. Most of the Caribbean hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus) babies have moved into 4-5 mm opening shells but many of the Ecuadorian hermit crab (Coenobita compressus) babies are still in smaller 2-3 mm shells like this one in the tiny turbo. Es are definitely a slower growing crab, even though they eat everything. This feisty little fellow was even picking off and eating tiny bits of dead skin from the callouses on my palm. Yikes. If it wasn’t clear by now, I’ve definitely got some skin in this...

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92 new babies now in shells have been moved into the land tank. I fired the kiln yesterday and finally got some crab pottery stock back up at my Etsy shop. Super tired tonight and hitting a wall. Tomorrow is another day. Thanks to all who have provided...

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This video shows the fashionista crablet from that first spawn who keeps switching shells. He/she is now 77 days old, getting some color, and the antennae are working overtime. There are also now 66 teeny tiny babies in shells from the two later spawns. They are in the land tank as of 7:30 tonight. And when I say teeny tiny, I mean SERIOUSLY teeny tiny—not just your average teeny tiny.  It’s nerve wracking even trying to pick them up. The plastic tweezers I have grip really well, but it’s still hard to get the pressure just right—firm enough so that you don’t drop them, but soft enough so that you don’t squish their fragile little shells and see-through bodies. But they are coming out of the water quickly now, and regularly. It’s like The March of the Penguins in there. The number 66 astounds me and even scares me a little. I will likely try this all again next year in hopes of getting an easier system down. My crabs are reliable late-summer-only breeders so I have a year to decide, but I’m pretty certain I’ll give it a go again. My long-term goal is to get the process down to a number of reliable steps that anyone can do. A (relatively) foolproof system would be a success and the more attempts I make the better I can refine the methods for those that follow me....

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November 30th, 2018. This little guy may be the tiniest landlubber yet. That’s my finger he’s on—my very wrinkly, salt-dehydrated finger. He’s so small the ridges of my fingerprint whorls are a gripping surface for his itty bitty toes. I do believe this one is an Ecuadorian baby. I’m pretty convinced now that my little E in the green shell (Miriam’s old shell) did make that final spawn that I almost didn’t try to save because I was so exhausted and pretty certain it was another PP spawning. Boy, am I glad I did now. (And they are truly tough because they spent almost a week in “holding” in various unheated tanks that I barely fed or changed the water in because I was so overwhelmed with the losses from the first batch.) The ones I think are Es are smaller, and as stage five zoea they were blue, and they are much faster swimmers and feistier with the pipette. These are characteristics of adult Es, so it’s interesting to note that the differences are there from the moment they hatch. Stacy Griffith, my Coenobita ID go-to gal tells me that she thinks this is an E because of the dark spot behind the eyes which is also something that adult Es have. So I’m feeling pretty confident now that we have a good number of Es in this batch as well as...

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All good overnight. I now have almost 400 megalopa in the new transition tank. Some in the kreisel had actually done the last molt to become hermits—but in the water. They look so different, it was easy to tell. They drowned without taking a shell as a result. I think it was because I had a smaller volume of water in the kreisel that was also closer to the heater. The warmth pushes them to progress faster. It’s now set at 78 in the new transition tank which should help. This first picture is the very first little one from this second batch of eggs to choose a shell and come on land. The light-colored legs make me think this one might be an E. Time (really will) tell. The second picture shows the second one to come to land. He/she is in the pink shell, center of the picture. The little crabby pulled into the shell when I loomed over with the camera, but you can see the legs still propping up the shell. My holiday company starts arriving tomorrow so I probably won’t be posting much during the coming week. I still have SO much to do to prepare for that. Thanks for taking this journey with...

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