Minibeasts & Me

Me at the Minibeasts & Me Event at Manchester Museum

On Saturday 28th April, there was a “minibeasts & me” event at the Manchester Museum, where all different departments from the museum came together to show the public what the museum is really about. There were people eating locusts dipped in chocolate, kids holding cockroaches, stick insects and millipedes, and one table displayed fossilised termites in tree sap which was 125 million years old! It was very interesting and at times the parents were more interested than the kids. I brought along 18 of my specimens to show the kids and they were fascinated. I have already shared some of these in my earlier posts, but here’s a summary of all the crabs I showed, with a few cool facts…

See my Museum Documentary for footage of the Giant European Lobster Claw!

LONG-EYED SWIMMING CRAB   (Podophtalmus vigil)

FOUND: Indo-west Pacific at shallow depths of 20m FACT: This species lives in the muddy areas at the bottom of the sea, and holds its eye stalks above the mud to look out for predators and potential prey

SPEARING MANTIS SHRIMP (Squilla mantis)

FOUND: Mediterranean Coast in muddy and sandy areas FACT: Females lay their eggs, then knead their eggs into a ball which can be up to 14cm big!

LONG-LEGGED SPIDER CRAB (Macropodia rostrata)

FOUND: Arctic to the Mediterranean FACT: Produce 2,300 eggs per spawning, with around 3 spawnings a year. This spider crab is the same family as the giant spider crab, so same anatomy but has evolved to be extremely smaller in scale!

MARBLED SWIMMING CRAB (Liocarcinus marmoreus)

FOUND: Britain & Ireland FACT: lives in fine sand and gravel, has paddles on its back feet adapted for swimming

PEARLY SWIMMING CRAB (Polybius henslowii)

FOUND: South-west British Isles FACT: Comes to surface to attack mackerel and Pollock, also has paddles like other swimming crabs

GREAT SPIDER CRAB & WORMS (Hyas araneus & Serpula triquetra)

FOUND: Firth of Clyde FACT: If you look closely, you can see this tube building worm as grown all over the great spider crabs legs! Parasite or mutualistic? One example of many relationships in the sea

HERMIT CRAB (Pagurus bernhadti)

FOUND: Central and East Atlantic FACT: Have been found at depths from 0 – 1800m. Larger crabs are usually found at bigger depths than smaller crabs, which prefer rock pools and shallow waters.

FLAME BOX CRAB (Calappa flamea)

FOUND: West Atlantic, from subtidal depths up to 80m FACT: They are right handed, and can’t eat snails with left-handed shells

PEA CRAB (Pinnotheres pisum)

FOUND: Gravel areas up to 120ft. FACT: Some live in the gills of other animals, and feed on trapped organisms. Are literally the size of a pea. This one found washed up in the sewers on Rochdale Road, so who knows where it came from!

BLUE KNEE HERMIT CRAB (Dardanus guttatus)

FOUND: Indian & Pacific Ocean FACT: These are carnivores, and actively hunt snails, clams and small fish

SCULPTURED MITTEN LOBSTER (Ibacus antarcticus)

FOUND: 0-20m in coral or stone reefs, on the sandy bottom FACT: These lobsters are known for their exquisite taste, but luckily for them their abdomen is too small for them to be used commercially

 


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