Friday, September 16, 2011

A Crabday Prince would like

Or, excuse me, the artist formerly known as Prince. My bad.

"I love everything purple.

Purple suits,
purple motorcycles,
Purple Rain,

and the
Purple Land Crab!"
Sesarma impressum

I was inspired by the purple blue crab Callinectes sapidus (from this post) to track down a fo' real purple crab. Look at the beauty that I found for this week's Crabday:

Sesarma impressum impressing me! Hey-oh!

Can you believe those claws? I love the polka dots. They're actually little bumps called 'tubercles', which are also on the underside of these cool crabs. The tubercles on their ventral side (I could say 'belly', but that wouldn't be quite right... you get the idea, I hope) are lined up in such a way that they actually make channels through which water can flow!


Yeah, water flows from their branchial chamber, through these channels formed by tubercles picking up oxygen along the way (since it's on the outside of the crab), then heads back into the branchial chamber at the base of their legs! It's a built-in (out?) re-oxygenation system so they can reuse water for their gills!! The whole thing is called 'the reticulated pterygostomial region' and is specific to sesarmid crabs. (Break out that fact with your friends tonight. Everyone will want to talk to you.)

Purple land crab: "Reduce, reuse, recycle!"

Needless to say, these crabs are pretty cool. Most photos I found were from Taveuni, Fiji, although they roam all over, from Kenya, Madagascar, and the Red Sea, to Tanzania and the West Indian and West Pacific Oceans. Little is known about their behavior (at least with what's readily available for me to find), so these beautiful little land crabs could be burrowers OR they could be tree climbers! Or both? Who knows??

a sweet little purple land crab mama
(you can see her full clutch kinda puffing out from her abdominal flap)

What is known is that these crabs are pretty and pretty awesome!

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