Sunday 20 October 2013

Vampire Crab

Image: budak
The striking colours of evil at its starey-eyed cutest.

Vampire Crabs are thought to represent the preliminary stage of a crab invasion force.

Pouncing on humans as they sleep in their beds, the tiny crabs make incisions with their claws and feast on mammalian blood. This has the effect not only of physically weakening the chief enemy of crustacean machinations, but victims are also infected by a pathogen which, in time, increases their emotional and psychological affinity with crabs.

Thus, the way is paved for giant crabs of the deep to rise up and, with their human co-conspirators, take over the world.

You have to admit, it's wonderful that something so adorable can be so smart!

I love the crabs!

Love the crabs...


Until then, let's look at crabs of the genus Geosesarma. There are about 50 species, at least a few of which are commonly known as Vampire Crabs. I don't know how often the entire group gets called by that name, but I reckon we can go with it. The crabs don't care; we'll be calling them "master" soon enough and that's all that matters.

Image: Bernard DUPONT
Vampires are unusual among crab kind in that they aren't marine. You won't find them in ocean or sea, nor beach or coastline. Instead, you'll have to travel into damp forests from India through Southeast Asia and all the way to Hawaii to see one. You'll need a keen eye, too. A lot of them are scarcely more than a centimetre (0.4 in) across, not including claws. Larger ones are a mere inch long.

Vampire Crabs are either terrestrial or amphibious. Some spend their time under stones and logs, far away from any lakes or rivers. Can you imagine turning up a stone to see glowing, yellow eyes peering up at you as centipedes and beetles escape into the darkness?

Video: chrislukhaup
These creepy beggars are known as Red Devil Crabs. They're so sweet!

Other Vampires live close to streams and may spend their days sheltering in burrows deep enough to be half flooded with water. As night falls they climb out of their crypt, visit the land of the living and kill a bit of it.

Vampire Crabs don't drink blood. Not specifically, anyway. Like a lot of other crabs, they're extremely omnivorous. They'll eat all sorts of plant material but what they really like is meat. They will gladly pounce on tiny insects, crush them a little in their claws and then tear off tiny bits of their still living body.

Image: Meg Lauber
Crabs always seem to eat their food in impossibly minuscule mouthfuls, like a man eating a horse with a knife and fork. It's a whole other horror when the thing they're so slowly chomping their way through is desperately waving its legs.

On the other hand there's one Vampire Crab who's known to dive into Pitcher Plants and steal the drowned, partially digested corpses that lie therein.


Video: andrea gaudio
Purple! And eating a fly molecule by molecule

They always said the devil got the best threads. The purple one is dressed like Skeletor! But better because it's wearing an exoskeleton with claws rather than a flimsy cape and a loincloth. Maybe the old boy would've had better luck if he wasn't dressed like a strip-o-gram halfway through his act.

Speaking of Skeletor... reproduction. Erm.

Vampire Crabs don't produce the vast number of tiny eggs most crabs do. And they don't go to the sea to do it like so many terrestrial crabs. Some Vampires don't need ANY water at all! To achieve this, they need to produce a small number of large eggs rather than lots of titchy ones. Some will pass their entire larval stage in their egg and emerge as miniature adults, just like many land-living and burrowing frogs do.

Video: mellowvision

At least one species lays its eggs in water at the bottom of burrows. They hatch into larvae who don't need to eat a thing, they just grow into adults on an empty stomach. No nappy changing or faces smeared in muck and spittle. This is the kind of radical innovation we puny humans can learn from the mighty crabs.

With their small size, vibrant colours and piercing, hypnotic eyes, several species of Vampire Crab are becoming popular as pets. They're active little blighters, always keen to explore and tear their prey into microscopic bits. Some crab keepers say that their little darlings occasionally escape the tank and have a good wander around. They can even breed if the conditions are good enough!

Image: Frupus
Isn't it marvellous to have a little slice of tropical forest in your living room? To watch beautiful, little crabs rip and tear living flesh and to know that their mesmerising eyes are watching you in return? Aren't they so clever to escape their confines? To explore our world as we explore there's, to know us as we know them, to watch us sleep as we watch them live.

We need only love the crabs!

Love the crabs as they love us!

Love the crabs. And all will be well.


Esther said...

I don't know why, but that first picture looks like a toad with spider legs to me...

Joseph JG said...

Hahaha! I can see what you mean! It' those big, dark eyes and the claws tucked under its body.

Ahhhh, a toad with spider legs would be amazing!

TexWisGirl said...

yeah, no! :)

Daniel Berke said...

These are so cute! I've always liked crabs. I used to have a few hermit crabs as pets, and really loved them. They have a lot more personality than you'd expect of something lacking a backbone. These crabs look like they'd be easier to take care of though, no worrying about having enough extra shells on hand!

Joseph JG said...

Yeah, it sounds like they're not as difficult to care for as a lot of marine invertebrates.

I've heard a little bit about pet crabs. I'm impressed with how much personality they have! They sound very interesting especially since they're so active!

Unknown said...

Awesome!and adorable

Joseph JG said...

I wonder how many vampires get that reaction?

Florida Sweet Addict said...

Sadly, they're being sold as aquatics. I bought mine at the LFS as a water dweller. Only upon doing some research did I discover they are primarily terrestrial. Poor little guy is stuck on a rock that I placed in my fluval tank after lowering the water level. Looking for a good home for him now. Don't have the heart to return him to LFS. They will put him back into tank and let him suffocate. "Bill" deserves better than that.

Joseph JG said...

:( That's a huge shame. It's terrible when not even the fish shop does its research. Hopefully the Vampire's life habits will become more common knowledge as they get more popular.

Unknown said...

If the toung crab gets inside the pitcher plant , can he get out from there ?

Joseph JG said...

I'm not sure! Perhaps they just have to be very careful?