Japan’s state of art: SUUMO and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology collaborates for “hermit crab” ’s new home


Automobiles, precision machinery, electronic devices...Japan prides its technology as a country of manufacturing. Did you know that its technology was also made use to create a “new home” for hermit crabs?

SUUMO, general information website of real estates and housings from Recruit and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, an institute expert in marine life collaborated to create an artificial seashell to alternate hermit crab’s shell. An online movie introducing the whole project is currently gathering attention since its release on September 30th.

Hermit crab is said to change its shells time to time throughout its life with its growth, which is said to account for great amount of its life. The two groups created an ideal “home” for hermit crabs after trial-and-errors.

The “home” is not a shell-shape, but “cocoon shape” which combines toughness and lightness. Its interior is made wider than usual shells so that it does not hurt hermit crabs’ delicate body. It is also friendly to earth since mix starch is the building material of this new home.

Due to recent environmental changes, shells for hermit crabs home is said to be decreasing that some crabs even chooses caps of pet bottles. This is one of the backgrounds this collaboration was brought about.
Associate professor Hamasaki from Tokyo Kaiyo University Marine Stock Enhancement Ecology and Conservation Laboratory said after achieving this project: “Purple land hermit crabs use shells those were washed up on shores, therefore shortage of their homes were especially serious. It was impressing to actually watch them moving into new homes. We still have to solve issues regarding ecological balance, but I believe this project is the first step to solve shell-shortages of Purple land hermit crabs in the future”.

This project is just a prologue, achieved in a small spot in Japan: Okinawa. But we might see hermit crabs choosing “made in Japan” quality for their final homes in the near future, if this technology spreads to the world.






Project Website