Hermit Crab Central

Comin’ Down the Mountain


There are more hermit crabs on St. John than any other critter. That may not be a fact provided by the government, but trust me, St. John is Hermit Crab Central. Every year, from across the island, they descend, albeit slowly, to a single location on the shore. It is not clear if the migration is just females, or where they will actually meet, but we do know it happens thanks to a fortunate video taken by local photographer, Steve Simonsen, back in August, 2012.

Female hermit crabs drop their fertilized eggs in the water where they hatch and live for a month or more in the sea before transforming and heading to land. Once established on land, hermit crabs placed back in the water will drown. There are fewer hermit crabs running around the island today than a few weeks ago, so something is up… maybe there all at a baby shower in the woods somewhere, getting ready for the big day. What do you give a hermit crab expecting a thousand zoeae?