Crabs With Beach Trash Homes – Okinawa, Japan

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Crabs with beach trash homes is a series I am currently working on. I photograph Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) that have begun to use beach trash as their home. The crabs are photographed in their nature environment and also on white for the Meet Your Neighbours global biodiversity project. The images are used for environmental awareness and educational purposes.
Hermit crabs with beach trash homes

Hermit crabs with beach trash homes

 Blueberry hermit crabs are commonly found on local beaches in Okinawa. Most crabs are blue but occasionally have color variations of purple, pink, orange and or gray. They prefer to have a seashell as a protective home but when no shell is available they adapt.

Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

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

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

Hermit crabs fighting over prime real estate

 

The battle -

The battle -

A close-up of the sensitive abdomen (photographed using the MYN technique)

Naked hermit crab

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 crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) with cap

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic tube

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic top cap

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic cap

 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)
Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus) in plastic top cap
Blueberry hermit crab- Ryukyu Islands.

Blueberry hermit crab- Ryukyu Islands

Blueberry hermit crab

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.

Meet zori -Wide angle macro

Meet zori -Wide angle macro

Hermit crab- Plastic pollution

Hermit crab- Plastic pollution

Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab,  Wide angle macro

Meet scoop- Quaker

Meet scoop- Quaker

Meet shady

Meet shady – Worldwide trash problem

Hermit crab in a glass bottle

Hermit crab in a glass bottle- Yomitan, Okinawa.

Meet cassette -CWBTH

Meet cassette -CWBTH

Airplane -Senaga Island ,Okinawa

Airplane -Senaga Island ,Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa

Land hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa

Meet sparky- using a plastic cap from a cassette gas tank

Meet sparky- using a plastic cap from a cassette gas tank

Energy drink home- Trash homes

Energy drink home- Trash homes

 

The rock climber -Okinawa

The rock climber -Northern Okinawa

Sunset - Yomitan ,Okinawa

Sunset Time – Yomitan ,Okinawa

Beach pollution- CWBTH

Beach pollution- CWBTH

Tree climber-

Tree climber-

Plastic pollution - beach trash

Plastic pollution – beach trash

Crabs and plastic

Crabs and plastic – WAM

Got Meds -Beach trash

Got Meds -Beach trash

Get off the road jack -

Get off the road jack -

Crabs and plastic -Onna Village

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 Edison- Gobe700

Meet hand -toy end cap

Meet hand -toy end cap

Beach trash -hermit crabs

Beach trash -hermit crabs

 

erry hermit crab, Okuma-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Okuma-Okinawa

Laundry detergent cap - Northern Okinawa

Laundry detergent cap – Northern Okinawa

Cassette gas tank cap - bbq beach party

Cassette gas tank cap – bbq beach party

White cap on drift wood

White cap on drift wood

Meet scoop-

Meet scoop-

Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Hedo-Okinawa

 

Meet Edison -Gobe700

Meet Edison -Gobe700

Blueberry hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa

Blueberry hermit crab, Onna-Okinawa

erry hermit crab, Hedo-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

Kirana’s school project

Kyle'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

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.  
 Blueberry hermit crabs (Coenobita purpureus)

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!

 

Fluoro-diving in Okinawa, Japan

The Light & Motion Sola NightSea blue light will enhance your night diving experience like nothing before. It Is an underwater blue light that allows you to see fluorescence. The NightSea blue leds cause proteins and minerals to fluoresce brightly underwater. If you want to photograph fluorescence you will need a yellow barrier filter over your camera lens. The barrier filter will block the reflected exication of light and transmit the fluorescence to deliver a psychedelic experience.

Below is a photograph of my underwater rig. This is my setup I use  to capture the underwater fluorescence in Okinawa. I am currently using one Light & Motion Sola Nightsea and one GoBe nightsea blue light.

Dive Team Miller- Underwater rig

Dive Team Miller- Underwater rig

Below is a photograph of the Light & Motion Sola NightSea Underwater blue light photographed in the studio. I wanted to capture the blue light rays coming out of the light. No previous photos displayed this and I had to do it.

Sola NightSea underwater blue light

Light & Motion Sola NightSea underwater blue light

Most of the marine life will fluoresce a beautiful green. I photographed this sea anemone in a submarine cave at Maeda point, Okinawa.

Sea anemone (Dofleinia armata) Okinawa- Japan

Sea anemone (Dofleinia armata) Okinawa- Japan

Corals that fluoresce orange are much harder to find here in Okinawa.

Lobophyllia hermprichii

Coral of the Ryukyu Islands – Lobophyllia hemprichii

Corals that fluoresce red are scarce in Okinawan waters.

Bio fluorescense - Coral of Okinawa, Japan

Bio fluorescense – Coral of Okinawa, Japan

I decided to experiment using the nightsea and custom filters over my strobes to give it an original look. I call this technique fluoro blending.

Anemone hermit crab (Dardanus pedunculatus)

Anemone hermit crab (Dardanus pedunculatus)

More fluoro blending using the nightsea and custom filters .

Large mouth triplefin (Ucla xenogrammus) on coral

Large mouth triplefin (Ucla xenogrammus) on coral

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I had this eel in my aquarium for a long time and had no idea it fluoresced until I exposed it to the Sola NightSea light.

eels that fluoresce in okinawa

Eels that fluoresce in Okinawa – Gymnothorox sp

The NightSea also provides a beautiful background color to compliment the marine subject. This technique is becoming very popular in japan.

firefish with nightsea backlit ,okinawa

Fire fish ( Pterois antennata) Back lit with the Sola Nightsea

Glowing hydroids were recently discovered in 2015 by marine researchers in the Red sea. I photographed these fluorescing hydroids in Okinawa-Japan.

Vexillum exasperatum with glowing hydroids

Vexillum exasperatum with glowing hydroids

Niotha albescens with glowing hydroids

Niotha albescens with glowing hydroids

If you want to learn more information on photographing fluorescence visit www.nightsea.com/

If you would like to know more about the Light & Motion Sola series visit.  http://www.lightandmotion.com/choose-your-light/sola

All underwater images were photographed using an Ikelite underwater housing. Check out my previous post on why I use an Ikelite Underwater housing.

Have a Psychedelic day!