the carapace of a shrimp (Pendalus sp.) with its chromatophores (the orange starbursts)
Chromatophores are pigment-containing cells that generate shell color for crustaceans. Some crustaceans can change color to match their backgrounds (cephalopods are also awesome at this!). And, like all things interesting (to me), chromatophores are under hormonal control!
To stage the chromatophores, the students looked at shrimp under dissecting scopes and determined how dispersed the pigments were. A dot is considered stage 1, but the more branching and dispersed the chromatophore, the greater its stage (with 5 being the most dispersed).
more pretty chromatophores! I'd stage these as 3's and 4's
Not specifically Alaskan, but fun nonetheless. Still, let's take this time to appreciate some of the many wonderful Alaskan crabs:
Southeast Alaska intertidal crabs!
Dungeness crab, hermit crab,
mud crab (the purple thing), and red king crab
Happy Alaska Day!