2019 Breeding

This area is dedicated to the pioneers who have captive bred crabs, and for those who wish to learn more or attempt it themselves. Also for inquiring about the gender of your crabs.
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mlakers
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2019 Breeding

Post by mlakers » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:41 pm

Image
[Megalopa who has taken a minute larval whelk as a shell and walked onto land.]

Things are going fairly smoothly this summer. Most of my issues have been related to not having enough space and tanks to accomplish everything I need to accomplish. I finally bought a 20-tall which will be set aside as THE baby tank going forward. Right now it's holding the transition tank for megalopa to take shells and walk onto land. Then I move them to a land tank (a small bin in a ten gallon tank). When I no longer need the transition tank, the 20-gallon will become a nursery as they grow for ten months or so before being old enough to adopt out.

Here are the basic stats this year:

September 10th: SPAWN ONE, DAY ONE. I actually caught the female spawning and got a video of it. I was surprised that it was a crab that had been VERY small the year before and I would guess is no more than 3-4 years old, based on the growth I've witnessed. Of course, there's no way to tell definitively, but I do think it bodes well for the second generation of breeding being able to occur sooner than I had thought it might.

October 1st: First megalopa spotted. This was on Day 22, which was about six days earlier than last year's successful breed. I've actually been keeping the temps quite a bit lower this year, so that surprised me. Maybe it's a result of the biological imperative to hurry up and get to land if the season is ending.

October 9th: First megalopa to take a shell. This was Day 30, about ten days earlier than last year.

October 12th: SPAWN TWO, DAY ONE. This was a pretty light spawn. I didn't see who made it to the water (I had four females with eggs), but I had an aggressive little E who kept dogging the gravid females and trying to intercept them at the water. I think he developed a taste for PP eggs (a lot ditched them on the sand in the first breeding) and was really annoying them. There were also a ton of dead zoeae in the freshwater pool because I forgot to cover it that night. Just too much going on to remember to do everything, sadly.

October 19 (today) is Day 41 and Day 8. I have 114 babies in the land tank now and many more megalopa still in the transition tank. I'm trying to "stress" them a little bit more--be more like the ocean. Moving the water and shells around more and transporting them onto the ramp. I'm testing a theory that wave action actually helps them to take a shell for protection and pushes them to walk on land by sometimes depositing them there. I was thinking about the birthing process (in mammals) and how traumatic it is, but how the squeezing through the birth canal actually does some important work--the idea that not all stress is bad (or pointless) stress, I guess. Sometimes environmental (or other) stressors accomplish important things for an organism. I'm also seeing how much I can "ignore" the second spawn to see if we can find some manageable steps for others who want to try this but can't stop everything and give the zoeae two months of constant attention.

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mlakers
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Re: 2019 Breeding

Post by mlakers » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:18 pm

I've moved 387 in shells (from this summer's first spawn) to land as of last night. There have already been some losses (my fault). I found three drowned in the freshwater today. It was a "pool" I used last year with no losses, but they were probably a few months older when I used it last year. I've reduced the amount of water in the container and tried to provide more ways out. I'd like to swap it out, but it's a decorative piece with lots of nooks and crannies and at this point I fear I would lose more by trying to remove it than by just reducing the water level and checking on them more frequently.

The second spawn (a much smaller batch) should be making megalopa any day now. As promised, I am trying to ignore them more and see what they can tolerate without dying, but I actually find that quite difficult.I root for them and want to give them every opportunity to live, but I know the data is probably more important at this stage in my process.

Speaking of data, there was a good article recently about the breeding efforts and hermit crab conservation in general. Rarely does the average writer get the majority of facts right when it comes to hermits but this article comes close. There are some instances of equating aquatic and land hermits, but in general I think it strikes a good tone in terms of recognizing the need to evaluate the dodgy hermit pet trade versus valuing their wild lives and their place in the ecosystem. I will say that I get pretty "itchy" being touted as the "face" of hermit crab breeding. I'm still learning every day and I haven't been a keeper as long as many others, but I just tell myself that I do seem to have this fairly unique talent for bringing them to land and if I focus on what's best for the hermits and just keep my head down and keep doing what I CAN do well, it will all work out. But I would like to publicly state here and now that I am NOT a hermit crab expert. I just try to understand them and their needs. I do what I do and hope it isn't stepping on the toes of those who ARE experts but don't have the time or desire to do what I do.

https://theoutline.com/post/8116/hermit ... i=g7nid6yk

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Maddamay32
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Re: 2019 Breeding

Post by Maddamay32 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:23 pm

I hope all goes well. Maybe your success with help others. There may come a day (soon I hope) when captive bred hermit crabs are the norm, and more happily kept as pets. Everytime someone has a thread about successful breeding I watch with fingers crossed!

Sent from my cp3705AS using Tapatalk

9 crabs at the moment "Tarzan, Kermit, Shy guy, Eduardo, Jimbo, Sharkboy, Rosa, Diesel, UMO"

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Motörcrab
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Re: 2019 Breeding

Post by Motörcrab » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:11 pm

Mary you are not the hermit crab expert! You are now dubbed Mary the Hermit Crab Whisperer!

I don't know how you did/do it! I know I was worn out after 9 days of zoea. Hopefully next year I will be more prepared. Unfortunately with work I can only devote about 3 -4 hours at night to their care. Even though we weren't successful I found it fun yet frustrating challenge I'll gladly accept again if granted to opportunity!

With the batches of eggs and zoea people got this year all the advocacy and general care guidelines are definitely raising awareness of hermits everywhere! I am sure your whispering is helping immensely too!
Help Improve Our Resources Section (weblinks)
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 2&t=119315

Once we get more links the directors will update the resources in a few weeks. Thanks!

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mlakers
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Re: 2019 Breeding

Post by mlakers » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:12 pm

Thank you, Motorcrab! I like the sound of crab whisperer. :)
And I'm guessing you'll have even more success next time. :crabbigsmile:

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Re: 2019 Breeding

Post by mlakers » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:15 pm

Maddamay32 wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:23 pm
I hope all goes well. Maybe your success with help others. There may come a day (soon I hope) when captive bred hermit crabs are the norm, and more happily kept as pets. Everytime someone has a thread about successful breeding I watch with fingers crossed!

Sent from my cp3705AS using Tapatalk
Me, too, Maddamay32!

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