Hermit Kingdoms

Found two of these on Oakwood Beach on Staten Island recently. Unusually bulky and flat, comparatively, they turn out to be the main claw of Flat-clawed Hermit Crabs (Pagurus pollicaris), a species I wasn’t aware of.

Looking at potential homes for them (different sizes/ages of Northern Moon, Shark Eye, Channeled Welks), you can see how that that big flat claw could function like an operculum, the hole-covering plate some snails have for sealing the shell off, protecting the creature within.

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