SYMBIOSIS AT SEA: Discarded whelk shell provides home for crab, ragworm, anemone


In spite of the often harsh and cruel laws of nature, some groups of animals have learnt to live together in peaceful co-existence, according to The Reader’s Digest Book of Strange Stories, Amazing Facts.

The publication explained that one of such example is the European hermit crab, which uses a discarded whelk shell to protect its soft body, often sharing its home and meals with a ragworm.

The duo are sometimes joined by another lodger, a parasitic anemone, which attaches itself to the shelf.

The book added: “The ragworm is usually a reluctant guest, becoming trapped in the shell when the crab moves in, but the anemone chooses to live with the hermit and follows its host when the crab moves to a larger shell.

“Strangely, the crab neither tries to eat the ragworm nor dislodge the anemone, and the latter’s stinging tentacles form a useful protection against marauders.”

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