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!

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