Mar 6, 2009

Ancient Ancestor of our Aquarium Crabs?

This fossil crab is a Galena bispinosa from the Pliocene epoch. It is estimated to be 2 million years old and was found on the west side of the Cape York Penninsula, Queensland, Australia. Click on any photo for a much more detailed view.

These crab fossils are pretty inexpensive if you can find one. I bought this one a couple years ago for my husband, who wanted to be a paleontologist when he was little. I was really lucky to find one (the fossil) in such good shape.

The pair of crabs pictured here are in the Humbolt State University National History Museum. It amazes me how much these fossil crabs looks like crabs that are alive today.

When I first saw this fossil, I thought of how much it reminded me of modern shameface crabs and strawberry crabs. The photo on the left is a Liomera bella, a type of strawberry crab. This photo was taken by Bryan Harry.

The red crab in the photo on the left is a type of Xanthid crab that lives in isolation in my aquarium. I punched holes in a plastic water bottle and attached the airline hose from my Aqua Lifter pump for water circulation. Xanthid crabs are known for being destructive in aquariums. This particular crab was found as a hitchhiker on some live rock (I took out the piece it was on and gave it a hyper-salinity dip. Crab came right out). It was too pretty for me to "get rid of," so I kept it! It's very hardy and eats algae and frozen mysis.

Below are some different views of our crab fossil. We have a few more neat marine-life fossils, so look for more fossil-related posts in the future.

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