Friday, November 23, 2012

The mystery crab is a...


sand fiddler crab, Uca pugilator

Did you guess that? In the last post with my story about a little lost crab, I gave a few clues as to what type of crab he was:

1. When he first woke up, he saw some characters from the nursery rhyme "Hey, diddle, diddle" by Mother Goose: a cat, a fiddle with our fiddler crab, a cow jumping over the moon, a dish running away with a spoon.

2. Tevye is the main character from "Fiddler on the Roof",  and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to reference that musical! Even National Geographic played with the connection, so I know I'm not alone. The title of the musical is referenced when Tevye says, "Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as... as a fiddler on the roof!" That's why Farmer Tevye in my little story warns the crab to be careful up there.

I LOVE this musical!!!

(Next up was the chicken on the roof. He had no secret meaning. I just thought a conversation with a chicken would be funny.)

3. Having the crab go to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta gave me a place to focus my fiddler crab species search, and it also gave me an awesome opportunity to have the Charlie Daniels Band's "Devil went down to Georgia" stuck in my head for a good week! While I'm not generally a fan of his, that song is a classic that can't be ignored. If you've never heard it, it's about the Devil trying to get the soul of a boy named Johnny by challenging him to a fiddle duel. Johnny wins. Boom.

4. Finally, going to the coast led to actual biological clues to the crab's identity: seeing little holes in the sand surrounded by balls (sand from the fiddler crab excavations), feeling cooler after waving, and having one large claw and one small claw all pointed to the fiddler crab!

a flock of fiddler crabs

Georgia salt marshes have three fiddler crab species: Uca pugnax, U. pugilator, and U. minax. I was pretty smitten with the splash of purple on the carapaces of U. pugilator, and I even included a little purple on the fiddler crab stranger that waved to our crab, so that's the final species I chose (in case anyone got really nerdy and wanted to know the scientific name).

pretty in purple

Side note: the two pictures from Americana the Beautiful are from a blog entry beginning with, "A stroll along Cumberland Island...". Pfft. I "strolled" along Cumberland Island for 20-some-odd miles after having spent almost 2 months sailing on a schooner (i.e. not walking a lot), and it. was. awful. We saw wild horses and dolphins, but still. My legs were shaking by the time I got back into my bunk. And I might have cried after the sun set and we were still on the beach and had no idea how far away our ship was.

Other side note: the title of the last post, "Who am I" made me think of Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. Anyone else?

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