Sunday 1 November 2015

Spanner Crab

Uh oh... Looks like someone just threw a Spanner in the works!

We've seen some weird spanners in the crustacean works before. There's the so-called Porcelain Crab, who looks like a crab but isn't actually a crab (it isn't made of porcelain, either. Crazy, crazy world). Then there's the Squat Lobster, who looks like a lobster but isn't a lobster and is, in fact, more closely related to the Porcelain Crab.

And now there's the Spanner Crab or Red Frog Crab. It's a real and proper crab. A true crab. And yet it doesn't look squat enough! Is that a tail I see? It's weird to say "excluding tail" when you're talking about a crab but Spanner Crabs reach about 15 cm (6 in) long, excluding tail.

This tail is made up of the abdominal segments of the crab's body. Other crabs have these segments too, but they're kept firmly tucked up between their legs. For some reason, the Spanner Crab has them swinging free, shrimpy style.

Video: liquidguru

Speaking of legs... Spanner Crabs have weird legs! They appear to use only four of them to run around on the sea floor. The other four are flat and hairy and the crab spreads them out as if he's pretending to be an aeroplane. I can almost hear him saying "nyoooooowww!"

Those peculiar legs have uses beyond looking like wings. They also allow Spanner Crabs to bury themselves in the soft, sandy substrate of their home along the coasts of eastern and north-western Australia.

With just their eyes and mouth parts poking out of the floor they can spot any fish passing by, oblivious of their presence. Then they can explode out of the sea floor and grab it.

I wonder if they say "nyoooooowww!" when they do that?


TexWisGirl said...

freaky little thing!

Lear's Fool said...

It looks like it's wearing a costume

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: Yeah, quite the oddity!

@Lear's Fool: Haha! Maybe he's superhero? If he can fly, that'd explain the wings!