Flower crab!

10 11 2007

As jocelyne posted earlier, Mr Lim set us homework – to research on one of the creatures we saw that day we didn’t do monitoring. Mine was the flower crab. (Portunus pelagicus) [See, it even has alliteration, how nice!]

Anyway, the flower crab is also known by a variety of names, such as the blue swimmer crab, likely because the adult male crabs have blue markings on their shells and long pincers. Females, though, are dull green or brown. It’s known as the flower crab in East Asia, while in Australia, it goes by other names.

Flower crabs have a hard upper shell (carapace) which can be rough or covered with small grains. They also have pincers that elongate with conical teeth at the base of their “fingers”. Their legs are usually laterally flattened at varying degrees, with the last two segments of the last pair paddle like. Probably so they can paddle. haha.

Unlike the very docile and adorable hairy crab, the flower crab (or at least the one we saw) is vicious and not afraid to pinch people… It escapes really fast, too. Being highly aquatic, they cannot stay out of water for very long. It generally survives in a habitat with sandy mud or sand substrate.

The flower crab preys on small fish and other small animals, while people prey on it after steaming for their nice, delicious seafood dinners.

According to A Guide to Seashore Life in Singapore, because flower crabs are crustaceans, they frequently replace their shells after growing too big for the older ones. (just like how people change clothes when they grow fatter ;D ) These moults (shells without crabs) are then left on the shores. They are very easy to differentiate from real crabs as they are light, do not have flesh in the inner layers, and have transparent eyes. O_____O They also don’t stink.

The flower crab takes about one year to mature.

The flower crabs we see at Labrador are really tiny but fierce, though, so I doubt anyone would eat them. Perhaps they’re toxic too, like the hairy crab! That will teach people to steal crabs from labrador..  (cue evil laughter)

*will post a picture here, after we get it*

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