In Part 1, I reported my participation in a 2-week workshop with a group of international malacologists and carcinologists at the biological station of the Université Blaise Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand II), located in Besse et Saint‐Anastaise, France. While there, we identified thousands of marine specimens collected in a marine Park in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
Malacologists have found that Caribbean reefs may not be as rich in large gastropod species as those from the tropical West and South Pacific, but they do make it up in terms of diminutive, “micro species”. We’re talking snail shells that are only about 1.5 to 4 millimeters in size (see photograph). It appears that hermit crabs “read the memo” and have taken advantage of this evolutionary development, because they too have evolved “micro species” that use those minute empty micro shells that are available for housing after the snails die. A plethora of unusually diminutive, adult hermit crab specimens were discovered among the Guadeloupe samples, most of which could not immediately be placed in known species from the Caribbean. Samples were separated and are to be shipped on loan to IZ for further morphological and molecular studies of this fascinating assemblage of micro-anomuran crustaceans.
A beta project database supported by the “Patrimoine naturelle au Muséum de Paris”, in collaboration with the French “Institut de Recherche de l'École Navale”, with information and photographs of the decapod crustaceans collected in Guadeloupe, can be browsed online.