hairy crab

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This weekend I stopped by Castle Beach in Falmouth to release some of my Snakelocks anemones (more about the aquarium in a next post…). Although the weather was bad, of course that did not prevent me from turning over some rocks. My curiosity was rewarded with another new find: a Hairy crab Pilumnus hirtellus. A beautiful little crab which is not uncommon but here it definitely is not as ubiquitous as the Furrowed and Edible crabs:

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I also found a Furrowed crab Xantho incisus with unusual coloration (perhaps because it had moulted but I did not check):

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low tide

The tides were good this weekend and so we went out to Gylly (Gyllyngvase) Beach in Falmouth, specifically the rocks to the west of the beach (I normally go to Castle Beach to the east):

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Although the tide was quite low, no special sublittoral species were encountered, but everything time you go out you still see something new. For instance, a newly moulted Furrowed crab, Xantho incisus pink and soft next to its old brown carapace: IMG_5469

There were very many small Blue-rayed limpets Helcion pellucidum (see also here) on the kelp:IMG_5412

A tiny Rissoa parva snail:IMG_5409

and a Painted top shell Calliostoma zizyphinum:IMG_5457

Some dark green Cladophora rupestris:IMG_5437

A fine red seaweed (I do not know which one) growing on top of Dulse Palmaria palmata growing in turn on top of kelp: IMG_5455

Three crabs

The diversity of crabs here in Cornwall is quite high: it is easy to spot more than five species in just a minute of rock pooling. The Furrowed crab Xantho incisus (or X. hydrophilus) has relatively large claws and can do a lot of posturing when disturbed but it is actually quite docile and never pinches hard:

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I have only once encountered the small crab Pirimela denticulata (but I must say I have not been looking particularly hard):

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The Broad-clawed porcelain crab Porcellana platycheles is extremely common under rocks. I have added a couple to my aquarium when I started but as they just hide under rocks that wasn’t a very smart idea. Months later when re-arranging a rock I found them again so at least they seem to do well in the aquarium:

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