November 8, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Fiddler Crab come to stay

My son's 4th grade class is studying fiddler crabs. The students created habitats and are observing their behavior. In nature, fiddler crabs live in salty water along sea beaches as well as inter-tidal mud flats, lagoons and swamps. With a parent's permission, the children are allowed to "adopt" the crabs. Just yesterday, I went to the school and picked up a male and female fiddler crab. The crab in the photo above is Mrs. Fiddler...both of her claws are small.

Here is Mr. Fiddler..he has one large claw. He uses it to fight and to attract Mrs. Fiddler.

"Hey baby, check out my claw!"

The male crab will try to impress the female crab by waving his large claw high in the air then bringing it down to tap on the ground.

"You like that, don't ya?"

Males crabs will fight over a female crab using their big claw. If the big claw is lost in battle, the smaller claw will grow large to compensate, and the other claw will grow back and stay small. Pretty awesome, huh?

These crabs will grow a little, but within their different species, the largest grows to be only 2 inches across. Like all crabs, they will shed their shells as they grow. It will be fun to save the shells!

The welcome back sign is for when the crabs return back to the beach after going for a swim in the salty's a "welcome back to the beach" sign, as my son would put it.

You may be curious about whether Mr. and Mrs. Fiddler will have babies....well, I was curious too. I have read that it is next to impossible to produce baby crabs in an aquarium. Although, IT IS possible for them to produce eggs and the female will carry them on the underside of her is not likely the eggs will survive as in the wild, the larvae grows in deep ocean waters and then returns to shore at maturity.

I pray we can keep these little crabs healthy and happy. They can live up to 3 years in captivity...usually about 2 years in the wild. We'll see!