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3456 Views 4 Replies Last post: Nov 13, 2011 9:58 PM by Drosophila RSS
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Jun 27, 2011 12:40 PM

crab shell found on beach



Found this small crab shell during a walk on the beach.  It was more or less whole when found, but, in spite of trying to take care, it disintigrated.  The photo is of what was left - the limbs and underneath part of carapace.  It was mostly white and the carapace probably about 1 to 1 1/2 cm across, broader than it was long.  The ends of the rear legs had a paddle like shape, so I assume this kind of crab could swim well.  The top of the carapace was broken when found - perhaps eaten by something - or maybe it was the remains of a shed shell belonging to a live crab?

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 12, 2011 11:31 PM (in response to Drosophila)
    Re: crab shell found on beach

    My immediate suggesting on looking at the photos, (pity it isn't complete), was a small crab called Portumnus latipes. But on reading your description you say that the carapace was broader than it is long. The proportions of Portumnus latipes are the other way round. So after a rethink I come up with Bathynectes longipes  - found well below low water mark, and reported in the Bristol Channel area, south to the Isles of Scilly. This is one of the species in the family Portunidae, all of which have the dactylus (end claw) of the hind legs flattened to perform either a digging in sand, and/or swimming function.

    Nice find.

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      • Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 13, 2011 8:40 PM (in response to Drosophila)
        Re: crab shell found on beach

        My guess is that the crab was not completely dried out? Small crab shells, especially a shed one can be very fragile and being tumbled about even in a gentle rippling wave can't do it any good. Try scooping the fragile find, and the sand it is sitting on into shallow container to take it back. What I have done with delicate seaweeds and things like your fragile crab shell is carefully put them into a small wide mouthed bottle or jar of clean sea water. The water helps support the specimen and minimizes any further damage, especially if all the air is removed to eliminate sploshing about.

        Keep hunting the tidelines.

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