Suumo Japan in partnership with the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology have come up with an innovative solution to the loss of sea shells on the beaches of Okinawa Japan, by creating Suumo branded artificial shell for hermit crabs.
To fully understand the brilliance of this project you need to know that Suumo is a Japanese website for people looking to rent or buy homes and apartments. Hermit crabs are the ‘masters of living’, the video says, and ‘they keep seeking out the perfect home throughout their entire lives’. To satisfy a hermit crab in selecting the perfect home, well that’s what Suumo has set out to do.
Together Suumo and students of the Tokyo University Marine Science and Oceanography departments, created the ‘Shell We Move’ project. The “home” is not a shell-shape, but “cocoon shape” which combines toughness and lightness. Its interior is made wider than usual shells so that it does not hurt hermit crabs’ delicate body, and the artificial shells are environmentally friendly as they are built from a mix of starches.
Associate professor Hamasaki from Tokyo Kaiyo University Marine Stock Enhancement Ecology and Conservation Laboratory said after achieving this project: “Purple land hermit crabs use shells those were washed up on shores, therefore shortage of their homes were especially serious. It was impressive to actually watch them moving into new homes. We still have to solve issues regarding ecological balance, but I believe this project is the first step to solve shell-shortages of Purple land hermit crabs in the future”.
This project is just a prologue, achieved in a small spot in Japan: Okinawa. But we might see hermit crabs choosing “made in Japan” quality for their final homes in the near future, if this technology spreads to the world. [Yattar Japan]