On the March

Feeling Crabby?

Well… don’t! Take a look at these soldier crabs, perhaps they will give you a bit of a chuckle, they always do me 🙂 Shot at Careel Bay last September, on (in?) the mudflats. I believe this is mictyris longicarpus. This species of crab is apparently the only one that walks forwards instead of sideways. It is fascinating to watch them marching around in large numbers at low tide (especially through a long lens!). Photographing them is a bit of a challenge, as of course they scatter or disappear into the mud as soon as they notice you coming—my “technique” is to simply walk into the mud near them, then stand or squat still for a lo-ong period and wait for them to wander back… not something you want to do in your Sunday best, as you end up sinking inexorably into the mud… As long as you don’t move, they seem largely oblivious to you, although you can see the one in the fourth shot looking up at me curiously as I stood there with my lens pointed at it.

Another interesting thing about these crabs, which I read when researching them but can’t find now, is that the size distribution is bi-modal—there are two distinct sizes around which they cluster (and it’s not related to sex). After I read this, it was clear to me in the photographs. The larger ones also have more orange legs, it seems.

(By the way, this post is a test of some new image/gallery code, click on any image to display it in a larger size – and let me know what you think of how they display!)

On the March

Soldier Crabs: On the March

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(Shot on my Fuji S5 Pro with a Nikon 300mm f/4 lens, set at around f/8.)

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