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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"Soft belly"

Here's a quick introduction to the Furry Crab (Hapalogaster cavicauda).  [The best part is the video at the end!]

This species reaches its northern range limit at Cape Mendocino.  We haven't encountered it very often in northern California, but we photographed two individuals on 12 February 2017.

In all of these photos, look for the short, dense setae (hair-like bristles) covering the carapace and claws that give this crab its common name.  In the photo above, note the very broad abdomen curled under the body.  Although you can't tell from these pictures, the abdomen on Furry Crabs is very soft.  It's quite noticeable when you hold these crabs.  Fun fact: Their scientific name "Hapalogaster" — means "soft belly."

Here's a good view of the dense setae on the claws:

Here's a juvenile (and a slightly better view of the abdomen, curled under the body between the last pair of walking legs):

Eric put together a great video clip of Hapalogaster.  Watch for a few different things views of the dense setae; a close-up of the eyes; and some bryozoan "friends" living on one of its claws!  [If you can't see the video below, click on the title of this post to go to the web page.]



Anonymous said...


I've been following, with delight, your blog for the past several months. I love it and have recommended it to others. I'm a 1/2 time resident of BB, a former 16 year docent with the Marine Mammal Center, and a keen observer of all things in nature. Thank you for enriching my life with your outstanding photography and explanations of those photos.


Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Robert!

Great to hear from you! I'm so glad to hear that you've been enjoying the NHBH blog. I'm always grateful for any feedback, and I appreciate hearing about whether the blog is interesting and informative. Thanks so much for taking the time to write! It inspires me to continue onward.