Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Two Good Shots: A Different Element

The giant hermit crab is one of the few members of the invertebrate house who has remained a steady presence over the couple of years, now, that I’ve lived in DC. Giant Pacific octopi and common cuttlefish, their life cycles sadly brief, have come and gone; the spotted spiny lobster (presumably) died, and the sea nettles and ctenophores are barely in the tanks before they disappear and are replaced (or, in the case of the ctenophores, no longer replaced).

But the giant hermit crab is still there, gripping its enormous whelk shell with its unseen, curly abdomen, ascending and descending its set of steps and crouching meditatively above the gravel floor of its tank, staring out into the aquarium and contemplating the vastness of the universe or perhaps just eating algae off of rocks.

Its relatively slow pace and willingness to hang around when I press my camera lens to the glass has allowed me to get some pictures of it that I’m very pleased with. I like to think they capture a little of the mystery of these invertebrates, their inviolability, even in this captive state, as they navigate the marine medium that is so foreign to us overly evolved, terrestrial beings. It pleases me to watch the hermit crab move through its dark water flecked with tiny bubbles like distant stars and thinking about the many ways in which its senses and perceptions differ from mine. I only hope that it, unlike so many of the zoo’s invertebrates, will continue to inspire me for years to come.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

1 comment:

biobabbler said...

wow. That first shot looks like a painting. Nice.

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