Ecological Interactions Based on Shell Selection in Hermit Crabs (Decapoda: Anomura): A Case Study from Kerala Coast
Keywords:Crustacea, Ecology, Gastropoda, Paguroidea.
Hermit crab extensively distributed along tropics and subtropics, forms a perfect example for ecological interaction. Mobile habitat selection by hermit crabs is very complex phenomenon extremely important for their survival. Hermit crabsare engaged in shell fights for choosing suitable shells andexhibit mutualism with sea anemone. Sea anemone attached to shell provides additional protection to the hermit crab, while both are mutually benefited by their food gathering activity.Inorder to understand the shell selection behaviour of hermit crabs in natural conditions 35 species of hermit crabs along with their shells were collected from the Kerala coast, and regression analysis of seven species was done to understand the shell selection pattern. In nature, hermit crab exhibits a greater plasticity in shell selection and it varies with species.