Randi Rotjan explains differences between terrestrial and marine hermit crab behaviors, and discusses how hermit crabs find homes (shells). She also provides a direct analogy comparing hermit crab shell exchange in different populations to human real estate choices in different economic climates. Vacancy chain theory describes a unique mechanism for the sequential distribution of animal resources across multiple individuals. This theory applies to any resources, such as shelters or nest sites that are discrete, reusable, and limited in use to single individuals or groups at one time. Hermit crabs rely on snail shells for shelter, and a single vacant shell can initiate a chain of sequential shell switches that distributes new resources across many individuals.moreless
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