Decorator crabs get their name from their unique behavior of using materials from their environment, such as rocks, sponges and seaweed, to hide from or scare off predators. They essentially “decorate” themselves as a means of camouflage.
As these crabs grow, their shells do not grow with them, so they must molt to accommodate their growing bodies. This process involves the crab shedding its old exoskeleton and forming a new shell underneath. When the crab leaves the shell it has outgrown, it must wait for the new shell to harden. To protect itself during this process, it will hide from predators and use rocks, anemones and other decorations to adorn its new shell!
The greatest diversity of moon snails is found in tropical regions, but these snails can thrive in most waters, including temperate and Artic regions.
Moon snails are predatory snails, meaning they attack and feed on shelled mollusks. These snails will surround a bivalve, bore a hole through the shell, secrete acid into its prey and consume the fleshy interior.
Atlantic Fig Snail
Another species of sea snail, the Atlantic fig snail, was also added to our Burrowing exhibit. These snails can be found in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, from Venezuela to Brazil. They are named for the shape of their shells, which resembles a fig or pear!
Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes updates!