This crab ripped off its pants for the camera…


Twitter informs me there’s something called #NationalSendaNudeDay. Am I doing this right?

(Maybe the Post Office and/or Hotmail are desperate to justify their existence.)

Anyway… here is a recently molted crab we found during an early morning intertidal zone hike with students adventure travelers during our seminar adventure tour in the Andamans near Wandoor in 2015.

The one on the right is basically nude. A nude crab. And on the left… crab pants.

For a bit of background on why a crab would take off its pants, let’s turn to NOAA:

Crabs (and other crustaceans) cannot grow in a linear fashion like most animals. Because they have a hard outer shell (the exoskeleton) that does not grow, they must shed their shells, a process called molting. Just as we outgrow our clothing, crabs outgrow their shells. Prior to molting, a crab reabsorbs some of the calcium carbonate from the old exoskeleton, then secretes enzymes to separate the old shell from the underlying skin (or epidermis). Then, the epidermis secretes a new, soft, paper-like shell beneath the old one. This process can take several weeks.

A day before molting, the crab starts to absorb seawater, and begins to swell up like a balloon. This helps to expand the old shell and causes it to come apart at a special seam that runs around the body. The carapace then opens up like a lid. The crab extracts itself from its old shell by pushing and compressing all of its appendages repeatedly. First it backs out, then pulls out its hind legs, then its front legs, and finally comes completely out of the old shell. This process takes about 15 minutes.

Note: It pulls this off while leaving the original shell more or less intact. That’d be like getting out of a wedding saari without actually undoing any fold or wrap and leaving the hole thing standing. Could you do that, Ishani?

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≤20 Seconds: Hermits of Havelock

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Beach art courtesy of sand crabs

Busy little crabs

Busy little crabs

Little, semi-translucent sand crabs scurry everywhere along the beaches of Havelock Island. They are heartily afraid of anything, even shadows.

But leave them enough time to themselves and they’re rather industrious in their digging. And they leave behind some fun “art.”

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Noticing the little things (with claws)

30-second shutter delay and he still only peeked out.

30-second shutter delay and he still only peeked out.

Taken at Havelock Island’s Beach No. 7

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Antananarivo: cheap, culinary heaven

Chez Sucett's

Chez Sucett's

On a darkened street, in a pouring rain, after walking past it twice, I finally spied the door I was looking for. Inside, I found the best meal I’ve perhaps ever had. Photos and menu after the jump.

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