Breeding Program Winter 2020 Update

February 14, 2020

2018 baby, 18 months old.

The babies from the 2018 spawn are now 18 months old and some are really starting to look like small adult crabs. It’s hard to believe I used to pick them up in an eyedropper. Others, from the same brood, are still quite small. The 2019 adopters and I are working together to try and figure out the reason(s) this very different growth may be happening. It’s mysterious, as it’s not tank specific. For instance, I have some of both, kept in the same conditions, with no discernible reason for the big difference in size.

2019 baby who climbed all the way to the top of a clover sprout. He looks very pleased with himself, don’t you think?.

The babies from the 2019 spawn are doing well–insofar as I can tell. I refuse to attempt a count of 700+ baby crabs that are still the size of peppercorns. Fortunately, the wonderful adoption folks at LHCOS are doing a fantastic job of approving an awesome group of adopters (application here) to give these babies new forever homes. Now they just have to GROW so they can get big enough to adopt out. Many adopters will pick their babies up at Crab Con in July, some will have them shipped after the conference.


The really exciting news for the breeding program, though, is that I will be working one-on-one with a nearby hermit crab enthusiast who has agreed to try her hand at raising zoeae–with some help from yours truly. Brianna will be taking any purple pincher spawn that I get this summer and raising them herself in a setup of my design and with my mentorship along the way. This is really exciting news, because we definitely need more people successfully breeding … and what better way than with a batch of already hatched zoeae and some personal instruction?

One of the Coenobita lila I hope will breed.
Coenobita lila.

BUT! (Yes, it gets better!) What has me super stoked about this news is that it means I can focus 100% of my energies now on breeding the exotic species that I have in my care. Last summer, my female Ecuadorian (Coenobita compressus) had eggs, but she didn’t spawn correctly, so there were no babies to raise. And I now have strawberries (C. perlatus) that have been with me for eight months and I’m hoping they will gift me with babies this year.

Coenobita lila close up.

AND …. drumroll …. through a very happy twist of fate, I now have a brand new species that (I believe) has never been captive bred before. Coenobita lila were only classified as a new species in 2016 and I am thrilled and super excited to have the potential opportunity to get some of them to land. The crabs are new to me (as of this week), so it make take some time–even years–for them to feel comfortable enough to breed in my enclosure, but for now they are pigging out, exploring their temporary quarantine tank, and seem very curious and healthy. I’m really, really excited at this opportunity to learn more about this unique and beautiful species. Wish me–and the new crabbos–luck! And stay tuned!!






4 responses to “Breeding Program Winter 2020 Update”

  1. Tricia Landers Avatar

    Thank you for ALL that you do!! ❤❤

  2. Kelly Avatar

    Great news, Mary! Can’t wait for some baby Lilas!

  3. Susan Goldstein Avatar
    Susan Goldstein

    This is amazing! I remember back about 15 yrs. ago, when the scientific consensus was that hermit crabs don’t breed anywhere but the ocean. (Ha!) Not that there weren’t a few biologists/hobbyists trying. This is such great news for wild hermit crabs. Thanks Mary!


    1. Mary Akers Avatar

      Thank you for reading, Susan!

I figured out comments! Have at it.