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554 Views 1 Reply Last post: May 17, 2013 10:09 AM by Jen RSS
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May 16, 2013 11:37 PM

Baby crab? Or two? In a mussel shell!

Helloooo,

 

My girlfriend opened this mussel she found on the beach and found two little crabs inside. The bigger one looked soft but almost looked to big to be a baby crab? Any ideas?

 

The smaller one is hardly visible but was very small.

 

Thanks,

 

JJ

 

 

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 17, 2013 10:09 AM (in response to JJAMES)
    Re: Baby crab? Or two? In a mussel shell!

    Hi,

    what you have found are two Pea crabs, Pinnotheres pisum

    The larger pink one is most likely a female - see the link -  and the other smaller one could well be a male hoping to mate with her. They are a parasite of mussels and other bivalves and are considered a pest by commercial bivalve growers.

     

    Personally I think they are quite cool and love finding them nestled inside a mussel when I am demonstating for a 1st year biology class. It is always good to be gifted something wierd and wonderful about the natural world to grab the interest of a bored student who is grossed out by dissection!

     

    Nice find, if you put them back in the water they will have to try to find new homes, I doubt the female will get a mussel to open wide enough to let her in, but the male has evolved to be slimline so he can go searching for females at this time of year, so he should be okay...

     

    Jen

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