Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Tale of Legoless

Legoless was a recently-molted crab wandering the benthos of the eastern Bering Sea, when all of a sudden he was snatched up by a trawler! But this wasn't any trawler, it was the Aldebaran, searching the sea floor for groundfish and crabs during the NMFS trawl survey. And on the Aldebaran was a grad student, hoping to find a new-shell male snow crab to complete her project.

Flash forward to a marine research wet lab, where Legoless is in a saltwater tank with his fellow male snow crabs. They've been promised an opportunity to mate with some females in the spring, but these guys are getting anxious, and maybe a little bored with the herring, mussels, and salmon the grad student keeps feeding them. Legoless, being the sweet crab that he is, tries to calm everyone with a stirring rendition of Don't Worry Be Happy; crab pandemonium ensues.

Somehow, Legoless was able to escape alive (the grad student hoisted him from the tank and put him in his own special area), but he had lost so much: the others had eaten 6 of his 8 walking legs. Thank goodness he still had both of his claws for eating and flashing crab-signs.

Legoless in his sanctuary

You may be asking, crabs can regenerate their legs, so won't Legoless be fine? Can't he become Legolots? Unfortunately, friends, as a snow crab Legoless will terminally molt. Crabs and lobsters regenerate their legs with each successive molt as they grow, but because Legoless may only molt once more, he won't ever fully regenerate his missing legs.

And so Legoless sits, occasionally scooting over to a neighboring urchin, whistling as he goes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading LOTR right now, so this post hits close to home. So funny.