Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) with a seashell
Before plastic caps filled our shorelines, hermit crabs adapted using tree nuts if no shells were available.
Hermit crab and tree nut
It’s becoming more common to find crabs with beach trash homes. I have friends combing local beaches in search of more crabs for my series. While these are cute images, our trash is becoming a serious problem to the ocean and the animals that call the shoreline home. I often find hermit crabs using a variety of plastic caps from twist top pet bottles, laundry detergent containers, small propane tanks, sports water bottles and beauty supplies.
Possible reason why Blueberry crabs adapt with beach trash
- Limited number of available shells causing them to make due with the best homes they can find. This is a good example of adaptive behavior.
Hermit crabs are very social animals and often fight over shells. Having a protective lightweight shell that covers the abdomen (soft parts of the animal) is crucial for survival.
Hermit crabs fighting over prime real estate
The battle -
A close-up of the sensitive abdomen (photographed using the MYN technique)
Naked hermit crab
Below are some of my favorite images photographed on a portable field studio board (MYN Technique). The crabs are safely placed on a white studio board, photographed and released back into the natural environment (MYN Technique).
Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) with cap
Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic tube
Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic top cap
Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic
Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic cap
- Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic top cap
Blueberry hermit crab- Ryukyu Islands
Blueberry hermit crab – Okuma, Okinawa
It’s important to photograph the hermit crabs in their natural habitat. I prefer to photograph them using a wide angle lens to achieve a unique perspective.
Hermit crab- Plastic pollution
Blueberry hermit crab, Wide angle macro
Meet scoop- Quaker
Meet shady – Worldwide trash problem
Hermit crab in a glass bottle- Yomitan, Okinawa.
Meet cassette -CWBTH
Airplane -Senaga Island ,Okinawa
Land hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa
Meet sparky- using a plastic cap from a cassette gas tank
Energy drink home- Trash homes
The rock climber -Northern Okinawa
Sunset Time – Yomitan ,Okinawa
Beach pollution- CWBTH
Plastic pollution – beach trash
Crabs and plastic – WAM
Got Meds -Beach trash
Get off the road jack -
Crabs and plastic -Onna Village
I also photograph the hermit crabs using a dedicated macro lens. I mainly use the Canon 60 mm or 100 mm macro lens to concentrate on the subject. These crabs are fairly small and it’s important to have a lens that will focus close and deliver high quality sharpness.
Meet Edison- Gobe700
Meet hand -toy end cap
Beach trash -hermit crabs
Blueberry hermit crab, Okuma-Okinawa
Laundry detergent cap – Northern Okinawa
Cassette gas tank cap – bbq beach party
White cap on drift wood
Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa
Meet Edison -Gobe700
Blueberry hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa
Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa
School project ” Crabs with beach trash homes ” My family and I collected trash on a local beach in Onna village. This is just a small portion of our beach trash findings. The kids did a great job creating a project with impact.
Kirana’s school project
Kyle’s school project
Behind the scenes photograph ” Crabs with beach trash homes ” I have documented over sixty crabs with beach trash homes. If you would like to see more images check out my Flickr account.
Shawn Miller – Crabs with beach trash homes. Photographed by David Orr
June 10th 2010 was my first experience seeing a hermit crab with a trash home.
Land hermit crab climbing a tree
My series ” Crabs with beach trash homes ” has been featured on Petapixel, Business Insider, National Geographic (Belgium), Atlas Obscura, Global citizen, Plethorist, Daily telegraph, Littlethings, 15minutenews, Roaring earth, Hyperdojo, News.com.au, Follownews, Neotorama, Boingboing, Insider, Additivist, Now100fm and varies Scientific websites.
Our trash is becoming a serous problem on our shorelines! Let’s keep our shorelines clean!
Have a great day!