Hermit crabs are rarely thought of as little more than the janitors for our reef and marine aquariums and blue leg and scarlet hermit crabs are purchased for cheap by the dozen to do our bidding. These species are colorful and attractive in their own right but they can’t hold a candle-shaped shell to the Tusk Hermit crab from Curacao.
First discovered living in the abyss of Curacao, the tusk hermit, Pagurus curacaoensis, is unique in that it belongs to a family of hermit crabs that only use the straight shells of scaphopods to protect their back end. We have the first ever pictures of this crab on display and for sale at an aquarium store anywhere since the cost of collecting this little guy in the neighborhood of around 600 feet deep has earmarked all other specimens so far for public aquarium display.
However, the marine life connoisseurs at Old Town Aquarium know what’s up when it comes to this lovable little tusk hermit crab, which makes an adorable and fascinating pet. This particular specimen of Tusk Hermit is not yet fully grown as in time it will grow large enough so that its dominant claw will be large enough to stand-in as a makeshift operculum to effectively ‘close’ the opening to the scaphopod shell.
It is unknown what the maximum size of the Tusk Hermit crab will be or whether it will need a larger scaphopod shell in the future, but from where we’re sitting there is something otherworldly about a hermit crab that lives in a shell shaped like a big tooth. At $400 the Tusk Hermit is probably the most expensive crab legs ever offered for sale, but as an aquarium inhabitant this is the cheapest one-of-a-kind crustacean you can get for your marine aquarium today.