Friday, May 4, 2012

Meet Sean's Crabs

I had the pleasure of meeting two very special, very sweet little crabs at my friend and fellow SFOSer's apartment: Snap and Ewan McGregor!

Snap (hunkered down - you can just make out his silhouette)
and Ewan (in the forefront)

I took lots of pictures and asked Sean Larson (sea otter/sea cucumber guy from this post) just as many questions. It went something like this:

Me: How do you tell them apart?

Sean: Ewan is the better looking one.

(Don't worry, Snap, I think you look great too!)

Me: Do you know what species they are and where they are from?

Sean: Gecarcinus quadratus, located from Mexico to Peru, but mine were from Costa Rica I was told!

Gecarcinus quadratus are known as the Halloween crab, 
the moon crab, and the harlequin crab
(among other common names)

True story: I thought these guys were a congener, zombie crabs (G. ruricola) until I double checked my own zombie crab post and realized I had misidentified one of my photos! I've since updated it, but I owe a big Thanks to Snap and E.M. for setting me straight! 

Me: How often do you feed them? What do they seem to prefer, if anything? 

Sean: I feed them every day, they usually wait until night to eat. They eat everything!!!! I have fed them lettuce, cabbage, potatoe, orange, banana, BACON and Dungeness crab. They like veggies but they LOVE meat. They ate all the crab I gave them last night; I was so proud.

Ewan eating bacon!
Me: Do they interact with each other much and are the interactions friendly or more competitive? 

Sean: They are pretty friendly, if I perturb them, then they kinda crawl all over each other. During the day, they kinda hunker down on opposite sides of the tank. But who knows, they may have little turf wars at night that I don't see. 

Me: Tell me more!!! 

Sean: They like to dig holes... each night there are new holes throughout the tank. I think that is because in the wild they dig into river banks and hide during the day and then come out at night to scavenge. 

(Read about hole digging behavior in Costa Rican G. quadratus here!)

Sean (cont.): Sometimes when I am sitting next to them at night watching a movie I can peripherally watch them slowly exit their holes and then I turn towards them, there is this awkward stare down for a minute before they either run back or keep moving. I am going to switch their day night schedule with a UV bulb so they are more active during the day.

(sorry this is so dark, but I didn't want to freak them out with the flash)

Sean (cont.): They never pinch, I can hold them.

Sean: "Yeah Crabs!"

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