Friday, July 24, 2015

Wearable crabs

OK, you know I love me some good crab swag (see exhibit A (for 'awesome', and 'Amelia')), but a new company is taking crab swag up a notch! Tidal Vision is going to take the old carapaces of snow crabs and turn them into shirts and other clothes! Doesn't that sound amazing?!? And strange, potentially smelly, and likely scratchy?

not that Maru minds...

Nope, don't worry: Tidal Vision assures that the fabric feels similar to cotton. And a bonus is that it has natural anti-bacterial and -microbial properties! Because of those properties, they're marketing the shirts as performance wear called "Chitoskin". Brilliant!

So what is chitosan, you're asking? Chitosan comes from chitin, which is what crustacean shells are made of. By treating chitin with sodium hydroxide (NaOH aka lye), you get chitosan! Those of you who took high school chemistry may remember using sodium hydroxide to increase the pH of an acidic solution. Mmmm, titrations!

ANYWAY, Tidal Vision is using snow crab shells, as well as salmon skins for wallets and belts, to reduce waste from the fisheries. That's something I can definitely wear proudly!

(from Tidal Vision)

OH MY GOSH, by the way, I guess the whole cat-in-a-crab-hat thing happens A LOT in Japan! I will post photos of my cats if I get them wearing Dungies!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Crab Carpet!

Red tuna crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) have washed up on Californian shores!

(photo from here)

Cue the line for cocktail sauce! These little crabs are actually squat lobsters (similar to my favorite squat lobster, the yeti crab), and are also called 'langostilla'. They get the name 'tuna crab' because they're a favorite meal for tuna! (Mmmm, crab-stuffed tuna...) Anyways, warm ocean currents may have carried them too close to shore for these little guys to avoid getting beached, but this happens sometimes when they swarm together in order to mate. So... that didn't go so well for them...

(photo: John Gibbins)

Read more about other crab strandings here and here, and here for krill!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

long lost family members

When you think of lobster relatives you probably picture crabs and shrimp, not cockroaches and dragonflies. But it turns out that they may be more closely related than we originally thought! Researchers recently came together during the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting to discuss a reorganization of the family tree. Basically, instead of insects and crustaceans being separate branches, they may be part of the same branch called 'Pancrustacea':

This special symposium was co-organized by my Master's advisor friend, Sherry Tamone! In the past, researchers have noticed similarities between insects and crustaceans, but their methods for studying them differed. There are more genetic resources for insects while crustacean researchers focus on hormones (like me!). But, using this symposium as an example, they're coming together to find similarities. Take methyl farnesoate and insect juvenile hormone: they control growth and maturation in crustaceans and insects, respectively, but are inactive in their arthropod counter part. The link is that production of both are limited by the same enzymes!

sesquiterpenoids represent!

As Sherry says, "We should get comfortable eating crickets. It's all one big group." You can read more in Science and check out abstracts from the symposium here.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Crabs rock!

Check out this awesome Alaskan rock formation:

Choris Peninsula, Kotzebue Sound "Crab Claw"
66 16.020 N, 161 54.520 W

It's from the Alaska ShoreZone Coastal Mapping and Imagery program, which has tasked itself with documenting geographic and biological resources along the 6,640 miles of Alaskan coastline! (That's more miles than the rest of the coastal states combined!) From the ShoreZone description of this shot: "One of the few rock outcrops in Kotzebue Sound, near the south end of the Choris Peninsula. The bedrock is resistant to erosion and stands as near vertical rock cliffs." Now that's a large claw if ever I saw one!

(If you watch this video, you can see the helicopter footage of the Crab Claw at 42:40!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New year, new crab!

Well, kind of. Recently a woman in Honolulu noticed this guy walking down the street:

oh hey there!

Normally seeing a crab in Hawaii wouldn't be weird. But this guy is a coconut crab (remember learning about them here) and they are invasive in Hawaii. It might have just showed up for vacation, but what's more likely is that someone had bought the crab in hopes of making a tasty dinner - can you blame it for trying to run away!?!?

Just as a note, in the video (on the Huffington Post link) they keep saying how dangerous the crabs are because of their strong claws. Coconut crabs can break through coconuts and were rumored to crack skulls of sleepy castaways, but I'm not sure how dangerous they truly are. So here's the lesson: rumors will follow you, coconut crab. You may have escaped being dinner (it will now live at the Honolulu Zoo), but you can't escape the sins of your father! (Regardless, getting pinched by a small mud crab can hurt so I'd avoid these claws!)

Monday, October 20, 2014

National Seafood Month

Many of you know I LOVE October. I continually sing, "It's the most wonderful tiiiiime of the yeeeeear!" and I'm not talkin' about Christmas, y'all! Among all the reasons I love October (fall colors, Halloween, crab season openers), I just learned it's also National Seafood Month! Yes, not only should you be celebrating everything pumpkin, but also everything locally harvested from Alaskan waters! And to learn more about local seafood, you can read this Seafood 101 pamphlet. The link will bring you to the layout and you can zoom in to read the different articles. Who knows, it may even inspire your next Halloween costume:

"Bering Sea or bust!"

Happy National Seafood Month!