|Steve Simonsen captured the migration|
What St Johnian Pam Gaffin [yes, the same Pam Gaffin who is the author of the popular book St John: Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Driveso best believe she knows St John] found last year were millions of them migrating to the sea from the highlands of St John. Pam immediately contacted her friend and noted St John photographer Steve Simonsen knowing that his whimsical personality and fabulous eye for the unusual would love to capture this migration. Steve got to the site and captured the little critters as they scurried along the shoreline into the waters of St John. His video went viral and he has received nearly 1,500 likes and comments and even got featured on Smithsonian.com:
The adult hermit crabs are terrestrial, but the larvae develop in the sea. The adults must migrate to the waters edge in order to reproduce and release their eggs into the water. They then cast their fertilized eggs in the sea where the newly born hermit crabs spend their next few months before returning to land.
This year, Steve and Pam have teamed up with researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts to build a website to help better track the movements and activity of the hermit crabs. The migration period happens during the summer and, most importantly the third and fourth weeks in August. They would love to have you participate in helping them locate the hermit crabs as they make their trek to the sea, if you are going to be on St John during this period.
For more info on the hermit crab I recommend reading the Blog entry on SeeStJohn.com which has a detailed description of how (and why) the hermit crabs acquire their shells (and sometimes shed them).
While you are waiting on the beach for the crabs make sure you have a copy of Pam’s book about St John’s most interesting day trips. It really worth getting if you are going to be on St John: