Friday, March 16, 2012

A slow (and steady) Crabday

It's Crabday! Crabday! Gotta get down on Crabday!

(So terrible but still so wonderful!)

This week's Crabday crab was inspired by the sargassum crab due to its unusual choice of real estate: a sea turtle's behind. While researching googling "sea turtle with crabs" I came across the aptly named

Turtle Crab
Cryptolithodes sitchensis

I can't get over that adorably flat rostrum!

These amazing-looking crabs are also called umbrella crabs due to their wide, smooth carapaces. Their claws and walking legs are all hidden with only their eyes poking out.

wrong umbrella crab...

there you go: see how it has the ability to protect all of its legs?

tah-dah! all of it's happy little legs tucked away like a turtle!

Turtle crabs range from southern California all the way up to southeast Alaska (hence another name, the Sitka crab). They're an intertidal species so you can probably spot them while beachcombing rocky intertidal zones (though I haven't had the pleasure of seeing one myself).

(now you can visualize what it must feel like to come across a turtle crab!
Thanks, YouTube!)

Turtle crabs are, unshockingly, quite slow (hey-oh), feeding on coralline algae (which doesn't move at all...) but their predators include otters, octopus, and sea birds. They are also constantly annoyed by sea hares (also seen here) egging them on for races. That... that last part's not true.

"Besides, I could totally beat any sea hare,
any day!" - turtle crab

You go, turtle crab. You go!


  1. I think we have one of these in the wet lab... unless he died. That would be sad. ;-)

  2. oh man, I need to check that out on Monday!