The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: crabs

Invasion of the Red Crabs: El Niño Conditions Bring Hoards of Fiery Beasties to the Channel Islands


Screen grab from video below of pelagic red crabs in the Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary

This year’s El Niño is predicted to be of one the strongest in recent history, bringing with it torrid waters from the equator and drenching the west coast and southern parts of the U.S. with torrential rains.

The effects of this Godzilla El Nino are already being felt along the Channel Islands, off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties in California, where thousands of pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) have the invaded the waters around the islands.

Read more»

How Did This Cunning Octopus Chase Down a Skittish Crab? We Asked an Expert at the South Carolina Aquarium

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.22.39 AM

Screenshot from Bettina Turnbull’s YouTube video from Sydney, Australia.

Cephalopods (octopuses, cuttlefish, squid) are known well for their smarts, which are believed by many to rival the intellectual capacity and ingenuity of the human species.

We’ve seen videos of octopuses slipping into clamshells, unscrewing mason jars, even crawling ashore to wrap an arm around a seagull. However, his circular game of cat and mouse between a pacific octopus and crab (species?) filmed off Sydney had us scratching our heads.

Read more»

“Crabbing Lingo”: A 20th Century Guide to Soft Shell Crabs


Image: Public Domain.

(This article in the Charleston paper, Dec 24, 1919, is about Maryland crabbing, and was published in hopes that Charleston could establish an equally successful industry. -OJB)

Crabbing Lingo

Many dealers catch “peelers,” that is, crabs that will shed shortly, and let them finish peeling in floats constructed for the purpose. These vary all the way from “rank peelers” and “busters” to “sweet, fat, and green” crabs, and “buckrams.” When a crab is getting ready to shed, a line appears on the next to the last joint of the back fins. If the line is white, the crab is thrown back, for it will die before shedding; if the line is pink, the crab is a peeler. It will shed in a few days. ‘A rank peeler’ will shed within a day. A crab of which the back shell has cracked loose from the apron is called “a buster,’ and will usually shed within an hour or two. The large male crabs are called “Jimmies” by the fishermen. A buckram is a soft crab become leathery and too hard to ship.

Read more»

As Non-Native King Crabs Invade Northern Europe, Recreational Divers Take Matters into Their Own Hands


Thomas Richardsen Hansen holds up an invasive red king crab which he found beneath the ice in Berlevåg, Finnmark, Norway. King crab pincers are strong enough to bend titanium and could easily snip off a thumb. Photo: Stig Brondbo

The red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) is only native to the Bering Sea, the Japan Sea and the northern Pacific waters between them, but in 1961, a group of Soviet scientists brought 7 specimens–yes, just SEVEN–to the Barents Sea in an attempt to stimulate the Soviet fishery. Each mating season, a female may give birth to some 10,000 surviving offspring. By the early 2000s, the population had grown so much that it could sustain a commercially viable fishery, and today there are an estimated 20 million king crab in this small pocket of Northern European ocean, and there’s nothing to stop them from reaching Southern Europe.


Endemic to nearby waters (see in yellow above), red king crabs are all too fit for the waters of Northern Europe (red). Graphic via GRID

Read more»

Hermit Crabs Queue Up by Size to Swap Houses

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.00.14 AM

Screenshot taken from BBC One – Life Story

I’ve always wondered how hermit crabs select the “right” new home in the wild. Amazing as this orchestration may be, it makes sense.

One BBC commenter wrote of once stumbling upon a hermit crab with no shell:

I once saw a homeless hermit crab in the beach so I found a bunch of shells and lined them up – he then tried each one by one, some were too small others too big until he found the perfect one and wandered off! I was mesmerised (and felt like a successful real estate agent)

Sir Attenborough narrates for BBC One:

Read more»

Life in Salt: Amanda McLenon – Artist and Marine Biologist Who Makes ‘Paint Swim’

Blueheron Striper Chart

Great Blue Heron. Provided by Amanda McLenon.

Amanda McLenon is a passionate conservationist on a unique path. Her career has progressed from high school science teacher, to NOAA coral and Antarctica-based scientist, published author, to certified yoga teacher, fly-fisherwoman, and unexpectedly, a full time marine artist.

In 2009, she discovered her talent by reverse-painting a redfish on glass, which is still her most highly collectable work. Amanda’s artistic career has taken on a life of its own with commissions for fishing tournaments (2011 CFF RedTrout, 2011 Megadock, 2012 Carolina Billfish Classic) and invitations to exhibit at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and several galleries.

In 2012 she received the prestigious South Carolina Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award. This year she will combine her passions as a 2015 Ambassador to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.


“Folly” Loggerhead. Part of Amanda’s South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Fundraiser.

Read more»

Spineless: Susan Middleton’s Potraits of Marine Invertebrates Like You’ve Never Seen Before



Image courtesy of Abrams Books

Acclaimed photographer Susan Middleton’s gorgeous new coffee table book, “Spineless” showcases portraits of just about every marine invertebrate (animals without backbones) you could think of. Middleton’s opening paragraph sets the stage with two quotes from giants of the fashion world – as analogous to the natural world.

 “What we imagine may be very beautiful but nothing replaces reality.” – Yves Saint Laurent

 “There is no better designer than nature.” – Alexander McQueen

 In Spineless, Middleton explores the mysterious and surprising world of marine invertebrates, which represent more than 98 percent of the known animal species in the ocean. They are also astonishingly diverse in their shapes, patterns, textures, and colors—in nature’s fashion show, they are the haute couture of marine life.




 Image courtesy of Abrams Books

Read more»

This Is What the Migration of 120 Million Red Crabs Looks Like

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 1.03.41 PM

Photo: Gary Tindale via Hungeree

Each year on Christmas Island, red crabs emerge from their jungle burrows by the millions — some say up to 120 million — for the coast, where they’ll mate alongside the shore. The event lasts for weeks, while many roads, trails and beaches are closed off to human traffic to allow for the crimson crustaceans to make their passage.

Read more»