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

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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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