Day 36.

We’re getting so close!! The first megalopa has taken a shell and climbed out of the water onto a rock!! I am so ridiculously excited!!! The final stage to becoming a fully formed hermit crab will occur when the megalopa crawls onto land and molts in the sand. That on-land molt gives him the final hermit crab touches of two sets of antennae, land gills, shell legs, and pleiopods. Go little guy, go!

In the first photo, my finger is pointing to the shell for scale—to give you an idea of just how incredibly freaking small this little critter is. The second picture I took with a clip-on iPhone macro lens so you could see some of the actual crab details. The megalopa is right at the water’s edge so he’s soaking wet, but you can just make out the walking legs—holding both him and the shell upright—and one black eye wondering, no doubt, what the heck I am doing.

Although, come to think of it, for the past 35 days I’ve been siphoning him up through a narrow 30″ tube then shining a bright light on him and sucking him up again to deposit him back in the water, so perhaps nothing I could do would faze this little guy.

After taking the picture, I put a single defrosted brine shrimp at the top of the rock (using a toothpick) and he climbed up and ate it! (I may die of cuteness overload.) He has since crawled back down the rock and into the water. This “land practice” will likely happen for a few days (much like a tadpole turning into a toad exits the water a bunch of times as his legs grow before becoming a full time land dweller). Stay tuned!! ❤️🐚🦀