So goes the rhyme based upon a poem by Jonathan Swift, he of Gulliver’s Travels. It’s a rhyme that is so very apt in the marine world. It seems that the harder you look, the more you see.
Take these pictures of an Anemone Carrying Hermit, which I think is Dardanus tinctor. The anemones are from the Calliactis genus, all of which have evolved to live in a mutualistic relationship with hermit crabs. The ‘nems benefit from scraps of food left over from the crab’s messy meals and the crab is protected by the anemone’s stinging tentacles.
I have come across some accounts that call these parasitic anemones, but I believe that all are more accurately derived as mutualistic. Both species can survive without the other, if necessary.
So, to the point. I was quite pleased with these images taken on two separate night dives in the Red Sea, but it wasn’t until I viewed them on a large monitor that I noticed the large number of small, photobombing crustaceans.
Look closely and you’ll see hordes of small crustaceans that look a little like gammarids. I’m fully aware of various decapods that live within anemones, but I can’t find a reference that will help me identify these little critters…can anyone help?
It just goes to show that the closer you look, the more you see.