Nov 11, 2009

Swimming Crab

I've mentioned my friend Cindy from work before who likes to adopt "bad" crabs. For a long time now, Cindy has been telling me about this monstrous Swimming Crab that she has. It was small when she found it as a hitchhiker on a coral, but has since grown to over four inches wide. The crab is a confirmed female, having been gravid in the past. I've always been fascinated by this crab and had hoped to visit Cindy's home to photograph the crab and her other aquariums.

swimming crab2

Yesterday, I was greeted at work by Cindy holding a large bag of water. She explained that the aquarium the crab was living in crashed and the crab needed a new emergency home. Being sympathetic to bad crabs myself, I of course agreed to put the crab in my sump. I thought my husband would be pleased, since he is a self-professed crustacean lover, but when I handed him the bag, he screamed like a girl. I have to admit, I'm a little scared of the crab, too. I was careful not to get my fingers too close to those claws.

swimming crab claw

It was hilarious when I poured the crab out of the bag, she is heavy! We think the crab is a Red Leg Swimming Crab or something similar. If anyone can ID this crab to genus or species, I'd love to hear from you. Since she was found on a coral that was imported for aquarium trade, she is likely from the tropical Indo-Pacific or possibly Australia.

Cindy says this crab loves to eat table shrimp and will actually use her hind legs to swim to the top of the water if she senses food. Check out these flat swimming legs.

swimming crab leg

I'm excited to be caring for this crab for a while, she is certainly an interesting specimen. She moves around a lot more than the other crabs I have, constantly walking around and eating things off the floor...probably my other bad crabs.

More Swimming Crab Pics

swimming crab

Nov 5, 2009

Squat Lobster Hosting on Seahorse

I had a wonderful weekend as a bridesmaid at an outdoor Halloween wedding, or "Hallowedding." Unfortunately, I got the flu and didn't even look at my aquariums for a few days. (My husband was kind enough to feed the seahorses and new Flashing Tilefish for me.) I got up this morning for work and decided to pop a cube of mysis in for the seahorses quickly. I glanced in right before leaving and saw something strange on Hoover, one of my female seahorses. I looked closer, and saw my newest Crinoid Squat Lobster hosting on her!

Squat lobster hosting on Seahorse

At first, I was shocked. This is not normal behavior. I wanted to knock the thing off or her as quickly as possible, but I had to grab a couple quick snapshots of the situation first. I think the squat lobster was smart for doing this, because as Hoover swam up to the top of the water to eat some mysis, the squat lobster grabbed some mysis, too. I don't know how it thought a seahorse was similar enough to a Crinoid to host on it, but it worked. Maybe someday squat lobsters will figure out that seahorses are better hosts than Crinoids, because they move toward the food instead of waiting for the food to come to them. It was sort of funny, because the squat lobster seemed a bit triumphant in his experiment, but also a little confused as to why his host was moving around so much. He looked like a cowboy trying to hang onto a bull.

Hoover didn't seem irritated by the squat lobster. Normally if something is on her (like another seahorse), she bucks and shakes, trying to dislodge it. Even though she was acting normal with the squat lobster attached to her, it made me really uncomfortable. So I grabbed her and shook it off of her. She went back to eating right away, and the squat lobster sunk to a crevice in a rock, where he has stayed.

Squat lobster hosting on Seahorse