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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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Spent most of the day trying to brainstorm a better way to do things and then implementing it. Went to the store, bought some things, came home, got crafty, got super sweaty and nervous trying to make the changes, but I’m feeling like I’ve got a pretty good transition tank set up now, positioned inside the 55 gallon tank. Good for them, but also good for me. The crabs will have to do a little more work to get to land, but with my holiday company arriving on Monday I really needed something that could go longer between water changes and feedings. So I have a much bigger volume of water, 1 1/2 gallons in a plastic bin, and a long reptile ramp. Decided it was time for a head count (or…thorax count) and I moved 187 megalopa in there!! Whew! (That’s 1,870 legs! 😂) And that doesn’t even count the newer megalopa that I decided to leave in the left-hand kreisel overnight in case there turns out to be some unexpected problem with the new transition tank that I didn’t foresee. These guys always show me new ways that I’m not meeting or anticipating their needs. They are SO hard to catch now. Good grief. Those loop-de-loops, handstands, and super-gripping legs are really cute until you have to catch and move them. You have to sneak up on them from their tails, or they throw their legs wide and grab the rim of the siphon opening and then there is no budging them. Some will also play dead, like adult hermits, not moving and curling up their legs on the bottom, even if you puff them with water. But if you gently touch them, they shoot away and swim their crazy loops and then you have to chase them down. Some grab onto anything they can—other dead megalopa, food, dirt, shells, the roughened edge of my plastic pitcher. They are stubborn and frustrating, but fortunately for them I am more stubborn and more persistent and I insist on saving them anyway, the twerps. Many had already climbed out of the water, onto the sand ramp of the mini paint trays, and since they were dry I couldn’t siphon them up, so I carefully moved those with a toothpick. Little, minuscule glass-legged critters. Takes a gentle but steady hand, I can tell you that. It’s nerve wracking. Sometimes they’ll grab onto the toothpick themselves but usually I have to find a way to gently lift them without hurting them. They are both sturdier and more fragile than you think—if that makes any sense. Maybe you can imagine what I mean....

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Ugh. I don’t even know where to start. Was feeling so good about everything yesterday when I closed the door and turned off the light at 8pm. Woke up at 3:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep for thinking of all the things I have to accomplish and how I might do that. Finally got back to sleep sometime after 5, then overslept and didn’t start the first water change until 8:15. Went to light up the newly hatched brine shrimp only to discover that somehow the air pump had gotten knocked last night and stopped working–lots of brine shrimp, but all dead and already stinky. Couldn’t feed those and that is currently the only thing the zoeae are reliably eating–probably because they are such killing machines they like their food alive and kicking. The later water change (from oversleeping) meant that at least 300 megalopa were already dead because they had morphed and gotten killed by the blue stage-five zoeae while I wasn’t there to intervene. SO. MUCH. CARNAGE. And they aren’t just killing for eating anymore, it’s clear, They target them and dispatch them quickly. it’s just straight up killing. I think it’s a resource competition thing…or the fact that once the megalopa harden up, THEY start to kill the zoeae. I don’t believe in an ONLY competitive model of animal survival (cooperation is seen a lot, too, just not generally in babies). When it comes to babies of any species, that selfish gene rules the day. Babies will do anything to outcompete their siblings because it really is a matter of life and death. And these zoeae aren’t even siblings of the PPs (I don’t think–still pretty convinced they’re Es). But I think they are “smart” enough (in a selfish gene sense) to know that it’s kill now or be killed later, so they are killing now with a vengeance. And the carnage isn’t even the problem. per se–there are still tons of zoeae, and truthfully I couldn’t handle 300 more megalopa right now. I’m already incredibly overwhelmed just by the ones I’ve managed to save. BUT once dead, the carcasses foul the water quickly and then more die just from the fouled water. OR I work my butt off changing the water SO MANY TIMES …you get the idea. Woe is me. Threw out my back around 9am–putting on a sock. How does that even happen? That made the water changes even more fun. Had a 10:30 appointment for my back that I barely made after the carnage. Got home around 12:30 and got right back into it only to have more catastrophes. I’m...

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🎼Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64….days old?🎼 Apparently, yes, I will, little crabby. One of the land babies was out today, pushing shells and seeds into the pool. Apparently they hatch knowing how to be mischievous. Maybe that one should be Loki. Lots of megalopa doing handstands at the tideline, drying their butts and I guess practicing land breathing. Several streakers, but I’m thinking tomorrow I’ll see the first ones from the second spawn event start to come to land. I also have to sneak up on them when I need to siphon them up. I have to get them from behind. If I don’t, it’s like trying to get a cat in the bathtub. They spread their legs wide and grab onto the end of the pipette like, “Uh-uh! Nope.” And they will not budge. Lots of water changes in the right kreisel, which is SO full of zoeae still. I’m ready for them to transition! I am incredibly behind on everything. Yeesh. I hate that feeling. And my Thanksgiving company starts arriving Monday. Whew. Somehow we’ll make it all...

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