A Rare Preserved Natural History Specimen of a Hermit Crab & Sea Anemone, Prepared by T Gerrard & Co Ltd


Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth Century / Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1880-1910
Diameter: 3.5 inches (at maximum)
Height: 7 inches

The specimen, preserved in formaldehyde within a cylindrical glass capsule, the label in latin reading ‘Adamsia palliata on Eupagurus Bernhardus Commensalism’ and further makers label for T Gerrard & Co Ltd, Pentonville Road, London.

The specimen, and the capsule it resides in, are in fine condition with no cracks. There are some loose particles suspended in the formaldehyde, which is entirely normal.

T Gerrard & Co Ltd, Pentonville Road, preparators, technicians and modellers of London were involved, amongst other things, in biology, osteology and entomology. They moved to Preston, Angmering, Sussex as Gerrard & Haig Ltd in the 1970's. Later they were aquired by Griffin & George, before that firm was itself taken over by Fisons Scientific.

Adamsia palliata is a species of sea anemone in the family Hormathiidae. It is usually found growing on a gastropod shell inhabited by the hermit crab, Pagurus prideaux. The anemone often completely envelops the shell and because of this it is commonly known as the cloak anemone. This example is meant to demonstrate the well-known associations between hermit crabs and sea anemones, and the crab is generally assumed to play an active part in establishing and maintaining the relationship. The large hermit crab of British waters, Eupagurus bernhardus could be said to actively assist the settlement of C. parasitica on its shells.

These two have been getting on swimmingly for at least a century and we see no reason why they should wish to part now.