Crabs that are real estate agents

Hermit crabs do not fit into their shells as they grow bigger. That’s why, these beings constantly move into new homes, similar to people. Nevertheless, hermit crabs prefer a much more practical and social method during the process of finding a new home; in comparison to us.

A recent study by biologists at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences and the New England Aquarium reveals that hermit crabs locate new and improved housing in accordance with a social order.

According to the research, hermit crabs do not fit into their shells as they grow bigger and therefore they start to look for empty snail shells for a larger shelter. Nevertheless, hermit crabs do not find a suitable home as easily as it is thought, because these crabs are really picky about their real estate. Hermit crabs do this despite the fact that they are more vulnerable to predators.

How do Hermit Crabs Find the Suitable Home in the Shortest Amount of Time?

Finding an estate is not an easy task for hermit crabs. This is because there aren’t enough suitable shells to go around, many hermit crabs have to go naked. Hermit crabs solve this situation by forming “a social order”.

When a new shell becomes available, all crabs gather around it and queue up in a line from largest to smallest. The largest crab becomes the first one who moves into the vacant shell. Once it moves in; each crab in the queue switches into the newly vacated shell right in front of them. As a result, a single big shell becomes a home to many crabs.

Devotion of Hermit Crabs

Randi Rotjan, leader of the research team, stated that they have observed one more splendid feature of the hermit crabs: Devotion....

According to the observation; when a hermit crab discovers an empty but oversized shell; it does not move in but instead it waits nearby until a larger crab takes the lead in the line. When the larger crab shows up; crabs immediately queue up in a line again from largest to smallest and that’s how all crabs find a shelter with no injustice. Randi Rotjan sums up the social order and collaboration formed by hermit crabs by saying “They spend hours queuing up, and then the chain fires off in seconds, just like a line of dominoes...”.

The splendid features of hermit crabs that we have narrated in this article remind us of a very significant fact: The One Who reveals the hermit crabs to build a social order and to perform devoted behaviors is Most Gracious, Most Merciful, The Creator and protector of all beings, The Almighty Allah. The ever lasting mercy and compassion of Our Lord besieges not only these creatures or human beings but also the whole universe. Just like these hermits, all beings have bowed to Allah’s Will and this is announced in the following verse:


“...while all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will and to Him shall they all be brought back... (Surah Al ‘Imran, 83)

Hermit crabs do not have hard shells that might protect them from their predators. Instead, they use vacant shells as protective shelters. The shell which previously belonged to a snail needs to be chosen carefully in order to turn it into a suitable home for a hermit crab. The bigger the crab grows, the larger shell it will require. Therefore, crab starts looking for a new empty shell before it grows big enough. And when it discovers a suitable one; it quickly moves into this newly discovered shell. It is – of course- impossible for a crab to think of such self-protection by using a shell belonging to another living being; and it is also impossible for a crab to learn this behavior from someone else. Like all the living beings on Earth, hermit crabs are created by the Almighty Allah Who has no partner in His Creation.

There are thousands of crab fossils which have been found by paleontologists, so far. A crab fossil recently discovered is 150 million years old and has exactly the same features with crabs living today. What is common among these fossils is that each is documenting that living beings have showed not even a slightest change since the first time they appeared.

Perfect Eye Structure of Crabs

In the depths of the oceans where there is nothing but utter darkness; there are hydrothermal vents spewing out hot water at 400 degrees, along the giant wedges. Around these vents, a type of crab known as Bythograea Thermydron lives and the incredible heat does not affect this crab, at all.

This crab lives in this utter darkness. Yet, its eye is a significant support in this darkness. The feature that keeps the crab away from the 400 degrees of heat is the special structure in its eye.

Similar to flies, these crabs have a compound eye structure. These eyes are capable of focusing and perceiving the poor light in the depths of the ocean. The eyes of the crabs leaving the stage of larvae starts transforming in order to perceive the light that disappears at depths. This transformation takes a long time and happens in accordance with the particular program coded in the crab’s DNA.

An adult crab, reaching the bottom of the ocean at approximately a 4000-meter depth in utter darkness, possesses a lenseless retina. The photosensitive eyes provide the crab night vision. As a result, the crab can perceive the poor light around the hydrothermal vents in utter darkness. And thus, it protects itself from these hydrothermal vents that are fatal to other creatures. This complex plan is a sign of Supreme Intelligence. Allah created the crab out of nothing and donated it with features that it requires.

2010-10-16 14:26:14

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