Pre-Copulatory Guarding

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orangeinecrab
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Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by orangeinecrab » Sat Apr 11, 2020 12:39 pm

Hi, I haven't posted in a very long time but over the past couple of days I've noticed one of my males guarding one of my females (only those two are up as the other three are down moulting) but I haven't observed any eggs yet. I posted on the facebook group (and a couple of other facebook groups just to try and get as much help as possible) about odd behaviour and I'm certain it is pre-copulatory guarding. I was meant to be sitting my A-level exams this summer (I sat my A-levels last year but didn't achieve the grades I needed for vet school so I'm resitting) but they've been cancelled so I've got plenty of time to dedicate to trying to raise any larvae to adulthood (well at least to land).

I only own purple pincher hermit crabs so the "Breeding: Captive Breeding Information and Resources" has been extremely useful. I don't know if anyone else in the UK has ever had success in raising the larvae to any stage past being spawned but it would be helpful if someone has. I've made a list of all the supplies that I'm going to order but I just want to check that I've got everything under control before ordering anything. I want to order all the supplies either today or tomorrow as I don't know how long it is going to take for everything to get here due to the current pandemic. I realise that a lot of eggs are dumped elsewhere other than the saltwater pool but I'm hoping my hermit crab will have some sense and release eggs (if she becomes gravid) into the saltwater pool.

The supplies that I'm looking into buying are:
- 336l/h air pump https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... O2F4&psc=1
- 2 x 4 way aquarium manifold https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... YLIU&psc=1
- Shelless brine shrimp eggs https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... TFJO&psc=1
- Phytoplankton https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... G22W&psc=1
- Spirulina https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01 ... CPD6&psc=1
- 10 air stones https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... DOTJ&psc=1
- 6 x 0.5 gallon jars https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... 7JIR&psc=1

Is there anything else you guys would recommend to order? I don't know where to look for shells but I have some tiny shells at my Grandma's house that may work, however, I'm not sure if they have extra holes in so they may not be suitable. My mum is doing the food shopping for my grandma so when she drops the food off my grandma has said she'll leave the shells out for my mum to collect so I can see if they are okay.

I've got a 160 litre aquarium that's empty and I have spare aquarium heaters so I can heat the water in the tank rather than the jars. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself in case the eggs aren't fertile etc but I'd rather have bought everything and have no eggs than have nothing and have eggs that are almost ready to hatch.

Thanks, Jonathan.

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Motörcrab
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Re: Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by Motörcrab » Sat Apr 11, 2020 4:53 pm

I would look into purchasing a submersible aquarium water heater for inside your hatchery tank. That way you can partially fill whatever tank you will be holding the zoea jars in. That will allow the the water to heat up outside of the mini jars. This is the one thing I didn't have when I had zoea last year. I figures since it was August the water would stay at a safe temperature. Needless to say we had a cold spell and I believe I lost them due to that.

I would also look into getting some pipettes, basters and possibly some sort of magnifying glass for when you are doing your water changes too.

I am not that experienced with this but looking back these are some some things I would have done differently.

Here a post when I noticed the zoea and what I was doing. It starts on page 2 about in the middle. Pay no mind to the my original manifold set up. I was totally unprepared and was trying to get air flow even across all the jars without valves!
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/p ... 7&start=15

Here is the main topic from my adventures with zoea. We ended up making it to day 9 or 10 with them.
viewtopic.php?f=123&t=120863&hilit=Strawberry+zoea

I also highly recommend checking out Mary Akers blog. She is the most successful hermit crab breeder in the world. Her blogs are always interesting to read.
https://maryakers.com/
Coenobita Curiosities offering crabby decor
https://www.etsy.com/shop/CoenobitaCuriosities


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orangeinecrab
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:10 pm

Re: Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by orangeinecrab » Sat Apr 11, 2020 5:02 pm

Motörcrab wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 4:53 pm
I would look into purchasing a submersible aquarium water heater for inside your hatchery tank. That way you can partially fill whatever tank you will be holding the zoea jars in. That will allow the the water to heat up outside of the mini jars. This is the one thing I didn't have when I had zoea last year. I figures since it was August the water would stay at a safe temperature. Needless to say we had a cold spell and I believe I lost them due to that.

I would also look into getting some pipettes, basters and possibly some sort of magnifying glass for when you are doing your water changes too.

I am not that experienced with this but looking back these are some some things I would have done differently.

Here a post when I noticed the zoea and what I was doing. It starts on page 2 about in the middle. Pay no mind to the my original manifold set up. I was totally unprepared and was trying to get air flow even across all the jars without valves!
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/p ... 7&start=15

Here is the main topic from my adventures with zoea. We ended up making it to day 9 or 10 with them.
viewtopic.php?f=123&t=120863&hilit=Strawberry+zoea

I also highly recommend checking out Mary Akers blog. She is the most successful hermit crab breeder in the world. Her blogs are always interesting to read.
https://maryakers.com/
Hi, thank you for replying. I do have a range of different sizes of submersible heaters that I can use to heat the hatchery tank so I should be covered there. I've also got a range of different sizes of syringes but I'll look into getting a baster and some pipettes. I hadn't though about a magnifying glass but I'll also look into getting one of those. I do have a microscope so that may come in handy at looking at any dead zoea or megalopa (if I get to that stage). I must admit that I've read every single part of Mary's blog more than once and I admire her so much but I'll definitely check it out again (I have it in my favourites tab on Google Chrome :banana: ). I'll definitely read your thread about your experience with trying to raise zoea.

Thanks, Jonathan.


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orangeinecrab
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Re: Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by orangeinecrab » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:32 pm

The male is still guarding the female but so far there's been no other action between the two of them. Is there ever a chance that the guarding behaviour doesn't end up in fertilisation of eggs? Or the production of eggs in general?

Thanks, Jonathan.

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Motörcrab
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Re: Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by Motörcrab » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:54 pm

It's really hard to say. I think they can probably go through the motions so to speak and not produce. I had several males fighting over a female for about a month last year. Everytime they would start mating it would get broken up by another male. After that kept happening I never noticed eggs again. This was after I had two successful batches of eggs a month earlier.

I'm mostly hands off with my crab care. I do pick them up on occasion to give them a quick visual check after molting, moving them while cleaning, and to check for eggs. You could inspect the female for eggs to give yourself some sanity.
Coenobita Curiosities offering crabby decor
https://www.etsy.com/shop/CoenobitaCuriosities


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orangeinecrab
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Re: Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by orangeinecrab » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:19 pm

Motörcrab wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:54 pm
It's really hard to say. I think they can probably go through the motions so to speak and not produce. I had several males fighting over a female for about a month last year. Everytime they would start mating it would get broken up by another male. After that kept happening I never noticed eggs again. This was after I had two successful batches of eggs a month earlier.

I'm mostly hands off with my crab care. I do pick them up on occasion to give them a quick visual check after molting, moving them while cleaning, and to check for eggs. You could inspect the female for eggs to give yourself some sanity.
Ah, ok. My three other crabs haven't come up from moulting yet so there's no one up that would break up mating so hopefully that won't be an issue. I've picked her up a couple of times to check but so far there are no eggs but in general I am very hands off with my crab care. I'll keep an eye on them as the guarding has only been going on for a few days so far so there's still plenty of time for mating to occur.

Thanks, Jonathan.

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Re: Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by wodesorel » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:23 pm

Mine guarded AFTER they had mated. There were no warning signs leading up to the act, I just walked in on 18 crabs trying to pile on one poor female. Afterwards, the male that succeeded pinned her down for a couple of days and kept the others away.
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Topic author
orangeinecrab
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:10 pm

Re: Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by orangeinecrab » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:12 pm

wodesorel wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:23 pm
Mine guarded AFTER they had mated. There were no warning signs leading up to the act, I just walked in on 18 crabs trying to pile on one poor female. Afterwards, the male that succeeded pinned her down for a couple of days and kept the others away.
Ah, that must have been a sight to walk in on :lol: . From what I can tell (I've been staying up till about 6am most days and sleeping during the day) there's been no signs of mating yet just the male guarding the female and holding onto her shell at times.

Thanks, Jonathan.


Topic author
orangeinecrab
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:10 pm

Re: Pre-Copulatory Guarding

Post by orangeinecrab » Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:26 pm

I've managed to find 2-5mm shells for sale so I'll be fine if my hermit crabs mate and I can get any zoeae to megalopa.

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