In Japanese waters, a newly described anemone lives on the back of a hermit crab

In Japanese waters, a newly described anemone lives on the back of a hermit crab

In deep waters off the coast of Japan, a hermit crab is wearing haute couture. On its shell is the new-to-science anemone species Stylobates calcifer, named after the fire demon Calcifer from the novel and Studio Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle. A research team led by Akihiro Yoshikawa, a professor from the University of Tokyo, collected the anemone-hermit crab duo from the sea floor at a depth of 100 to 400 meters (330 to1,300 feet) in the sea of Kumano and Suruga Bay on the Pacific side of Japan. Researchers have published descriptions of the new anemone species in The Biological Bulletin. The newly described anemone species appears to live exclusively on the shells of the hermit crab species Pagurodofleinia doederleini, a hint that these two species are in an obligate symbiotic relationship, or that they need each other to survive. The new-to-science anemone species Stylobates calcifer on the back of its hermit crab host. Photos by Akihiro Yoshikawa from Yoshikawa et al 2022. Much like a conch shell, anemones use their own secretions to form their shell-like attachments (in this case, to their hermit crab host). “The shell-making ability of the new species in the species-specific relationship appears as if Calcifer was in a magical contract with the Wizard Howl, constructing his Moving Castle,” Yoshikawa told Mongabay in an email. In a series of first-ever video recordings of the hermit crab and anemone duo, the crab is seen moving into a larger shell. What follows is a struggle of…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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