Animal Update: Burrowing Exhibit

Three decorator crabs, two moon snails and one Atlantic fig snail were added to the Burrowing exhibit in Surviving Through Adaptation

Published January 19, 2018

Decorator Crabs

Decorator crabs get their name from their unique behavior of using materials from their environment, such as rocks, sponges and seaweed, to hide from or scare off predators. They essentially “decorate” themselves as a means of camouflage.

As these crabs grow, their shells do not grow with them, so they must molt to accommodate their growing bodies. This process involves the crab shedding its old exoskeleton and forming a new shell underneath. When the crab leaves the shell it has outgrown, it must wait for the new shell to harden. To protect itself during this process, it will hide from predators and use rocks, anemones and other decorations to adorn its new shell!


Moon Snails

The greatest diversity of moon snails is found in tropical regions, but these snails can thrive in most waters, including temperate and Artic regions. 
Moon snails are predatory snails, meaning they attack and feed on shelled mollusks. These snails will surround a bivalve, bore a hole through the shell, secrete acid into its prey and consume the fleshy interior.

Atlantic Fig Snail

Another species of sea snail, the Atlantic fig snail, was also added to our Burrowing exhibit. These snails can be found in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, from Venezuela to Brazil. They are named for the shape of their shells, which resembles a fig or pear!

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes updates! 

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

Read the full story

Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

Read the full story

Related Stories

Animal Update: Seahorses

Published June 20, 2018

Animal Update: Reef Scorpionfish

Published December 22, 2017