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Crab Mold
Crab Mold
Click to enlarge image(s)

Scientific name: Portunites sp.
Age: Pliocene-Pleistocene, 3 mya
Distribution: Italy
Crabs can be called arthropods, crustaceans and decopods. All these words help identify and classify crabs and their relatives. Crabs are arthropods because they are invertebrates meaning they don't have bones but segmented bodies and are bilaterally symmetrical meaning they are the same on each side. They are also arthropods because they have an exoskeleton that they shed regularly as they outgrow it. They are crustaceans because their limbs are biramous meaning they branch into two parts. They are decapods because they have ten feet or limbs. Whatever we call them by they are really a marvel of engineering. They can shed their hard exoskeleton which protects their very soft and vulnerable bodies and while they are waiting for the new exoskeleton to grow, can still move around. This process is known as hydrostatic pressure.
They do the “crab walk” which is a sideways and a little forward walk that is caused by the way their legs are attached to their bodies. If they lose a leg while fighting or being attacked by a predator, it will eventually grow back! They are omnivores meaning they eat both meat and plant. They can communicate by tapping or waving their claws and they are protective of their “homes”. Humans consume over 300,000 tons of crab each year!
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