Friday, January 17, 2014

Gettin' crabby in Oregon (part 2)

Oh yeah, we're still going to

I last left off with my friends and me discovering a still-very-alive smooth bay shrimp and putting it back in the ocean. As we reached the jetty near Yaquina Bay and admired the sunset, we found another little crustacean first thought to be dead.

"I'm so thirsty!" - purple shore crab

He was a little purple shore crab (Hemigrapsus nudus)! He was very nude, but we tried not to make him feel too self conscious about it. I'm not sure why purple shore crabs are also called 'naked shore crabs' since all crabs are naked save for maybe decorator crabs (when they dress up and look fabulous!), but I think it hails from a comparison with the other common shore crabs nearby, the hairy shore crab (Hemigrapsus fully-dressed-icus oregonensis). You see, the purple shore crab has smooth legs whereas the hairy shore crab has lots of little hair-like setae along its legs and claws.

 "That's right! I'm as bald as Patrick Stewart!" - purple shore crab

Like the smooth bay shrimp we found, this purple shore crab also gave us some signs of life so we quickly found a sheltered spot for him in the water by the rocks.

We have one last stop in our Oregon adventure, so don't go too far!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Gettin' crabby in Oregon (part 1)

It's time for another adventure! Let's

I mentioned in the last post that I was headed to Oregon for a wedding. It was beautiful and touching and just plain fun! The next day we took advantage of our proximity to the coast and headed out for a walk near the Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site. I wasn't expecting to see much other than waves, sand, and sun, but my friend Alice spotted this little fellow:

a sandy-colored smooth bay shrimp

We thought it was dead since it was just lying in the wash zone of the beach. Either my husband or Alice went to pick it up (I don't remember who) and it flipped away from us! We all gave a jump and a scream, then picked it up and put it back in the ocean! It was a good start to a fun beach walk!

This little shrimp isn't just your average cocktail ingredient. Oh no, he's got quite the story. Smooth bay shrimp (Lissograngon stylirostris) host a nasty little parasite named Argeia pugettensis, a bopyrid isopod. The isopod will attach itself to a shrimp's gills and use the shrimp's carapace as an extra layer of shelter. The first one to attach to the shrimp develops into a female.

"Last one to the shrimp is a rotten egg male!" - parasitic isopod

Any subsequent parasite to enter that shrimp's gills will become male and fertilize the female parasite's eggs. Once the little larvae hatch, they head out in search of an intermediate host (namely a calanoid copepod) to ruin someone else's day develop further until it can start the whole process over again by swimming up into a shrimp's gills.

"Gross Steve, you've got something on your back!" - Larry the shrimp
"AH! Larry, you've got something on YOUR back!" - Steve the shrimp
 "AHHH!" - Larry and Steve
"AHHHHHH!" - all the shrimp EVERYWHERE!

Luckily for the shrimp we found, it wasn't infected with anything.


Stay tuned to see more of our beach discoveries!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Let's Review

Happy New Year!

I'm so excited for what 2014 has to bring! The most recent thing will be our dear friends' wedding this weekend, so I feel like we're starting the year off on the right foot! Before we head out to celebrate I wanted to look back on 2013 (like I did last year with 2012). So, without further ado, here are the top 10 posts from last year:

10. Let's talk about crabs, baby!

This was a review of a different color: going over the most recent crab chat I had with some Deadliest Catch fans! I answered the question, "Who can fish in Alaskan waters" immediately, but I'm realizing that I still need to write a post about those infamous crab farts! Hooray for 2014!

9. Cod are just like people

Cod like to eat snow crabs and my fellow University of Alaska Fairbanks alum Laurinda Marcello tells us how that affects the snow crab population. A lot of you guys already know the answer to that, but for those of you who haven't read the post, click the link to see if snow crabs should be more afraid of cod or themselves!

8. Happy New Year!

WOOOO! You guys like to party just as much as this hermit crab!

 um, you got a little something on your face.

7. Trading WHAT for protection?

Fiddler crabs: just when you think you might start liking them, they go and do something like this. What's the "this"? Living a 'free love' lifestyle in the name of property protection. You do what you gotta do, fiddler crab females, just don't expect me to bring a casserole over for the next "potluck" you throw, OK?

dang it! why do they have to be so cute!?!

6. I *crab heart* you!

You guys really saw the beauty in crab hearts just like I did. I hope it was a happy Valentine's Day for anyone who used my crab heart card!

5. Giving a whole new meaning to "shrimp"

Who knew shrimp embryos could be so endearing?

4. Big Ol' Crab!

In complete contrast to #5, this post was all about the largest recorded snow crab ever. I had to guestimate the actual size based on weight and crudely photoshop a picture, but you all got the idea.

3. Say "AAAAAAAH!!!"


2. hermit crabs do the twist

Come on hermit crab, let's do the twist! (Any Chubby Checker fans out there?) You guys must have been really interested in hermit crab abdomens and whether or not they twist the same way. Either that or you really liked my Beyoncé joke.

1. King crabs are red,

King crabs are blue,
This post taught you all,
How to tell the difference!

"I'm red" - Paralithodes camtschaticus
"I'm blue" - Paralithodes platypus

It also taught you that I'm a terrible poet.

Well, that's it! Let's see what 2014 has to offer!