Friday, September 18, 2009

Crab Molt in Action

Yesterday during homecrew one of our volunteers Betty noticed a red rock crab was molting. Molting is an amazing process that enables a crab to grow larger. The molting crab leaves behind an exact copy of it's itself including the eyes gills and even the stomach lining. To molt the crab backs out through a split along the rear edge of its carapace (the large flat surface on it's back). Once out of it's old 'shell' the crab's body is very soft and it puffs up with water increasing it's size.
Below are pictures showing the molting process:

The split at the back of the carapace has just begun.















A little farther along.






























The crab now has its legs out.















One claw has come out.





























Almost there. . .




































It is finally free! The legs were so soft at this point, they were buckling under the weight of the body!




















7 comments:

  1. That is SO cool! I love the pictures that show the changes. Also, I am always amazed at how big they are after they rid themselves of their old carapace.

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  2. Way too cool - I love the blog. Keep it up!

    Karen De

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  3. Terrific pictures. These should be on display in the exhibit. A really great case of a picture (or five) being worth a thousand (or five ) words. Thanks for sharing all this neat stuff.

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  4. Thanks for sharing the pictures! That is very cool!

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  5. This is so cool! I love it!

    -Jen K

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  6. (here via stumbleupon)

    Woah! Awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I thought it was something different... cool though

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