Welcome to the first Tides and Trails installment of Crabby Monday!
The Lined Shore Crab (Pachygrapsus crassipes) skitters sideways and scoots backward along rocks and sand as it searches for algae and small animals to eat. During the day this flat crab hides from predators by hunkering down in rock crevices. Though it's about the size of a silver dollar, this little fighter will rear up, extend its claws, and prepare to do battle with beings that tower above it. If a gull grabs one of the crab’s legs, the captured crustacean can escape by shedding its limb; then the crab grows a new leg.
Lined Shore Crabs are often encountered on land by tidepoolers and beachcombers. After venturing across dry terrain, the crabs return to the sea to dampen their gills, which stay moist in sealed chambers that store water—a useful adaptation for crustaceans that venture beyond the ocean’s edge.
A sea creature that is transitioning into a terrestrial animal, the Lined Shore Crab spends at least half its life out of the water. This marine crab carries a bit of the sea in its gills as it scurries sideways across the alien shore that we call home.