As badass as this guy looks with his knobby pincers and a couple of barnacles, hermit crabs tend to be pretty shy – thus, you know, the shell. This one even chose a particularly badass shell too, that of a crown conch, which I can tell you from experience you don’t want to step on.
Taken in either late 2004 or early 2005 during my time in Florida and held just long enough for photos within my aquarium, this was a pretty sizable specimen of the thinstripe hermit crabs (Clibanarius vittatus) that can be found along the east coast, at least; the shell that it occupied was a little smaller than my fist (which are yuge!) but don’t ask me how to get any kind of accurate measurement of the crab itself. I would have liked it if it had posed against the glass a little further from the corner of the tank so the silicone seam didn’t show in the frame, but that was easy enough to crop out for this dramatic closeup. And anyway, crabs don’t take direction well and this one soon moved on to a less photogenic position. Another that I captured at a different time was benevolent (or oblivious) enough to provide some entertainment for other species in the aquarium.