The Stone Crab

As a new year starts and we think about our dreams and goals for 2016, please pause for a moment to consider the humble (and delicious) stone crab. Now is also an appropriate time to consider this creature, because the fishing season runs from October to May in South Florida.

The stone crab’s misfortune or fortune, depending on how you see it, is that the meat in its claws tastes fantastic. Jina invited Phil and I to a beachside restaurant in Fort Lauderdale where we had two platefuls (about 20 claws).

Stone crabs walk into baited traps, and are then brought to the surface. It’s not clear what goes on in the brain of a stone crab, but it must know that it’s not good being in the trap. Is death next? No, well not always! This remarkable being has a capability which preserves its life, but also causes it short-term pain. Its limbs grow back if removed.

The fisherman break off one of the two claws (accounting for rules about length, pregnant females etc); they do it in a place such that the claw will grow back. Over three molts, three years, the claw remarkably grows back!! So, the stone crab gets three more years, albeit somewhat disabled and less able to defend itself. Indeed it changes from being a predator to a scavenger. We can only imagine how it feels when it walks into a trap again. Perhaps ready after its bonus years.

If you would like to learn more, see the link below.

http://m.myfwc.com/research/saltwater/crustaceans/stone-crabs/faq/

Have a good 2016.

   
    
 

Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

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