The shore crab sloughing its shell

Before sloughing, alot happens within the crabs body. Among other things, important organic compounds are recovered from the old shell and the crabs body takes up water so its body swells and the shell cracks along weakened contours.
    When sloughing takes place, the crab is liberated totally from its old shell, including antennae, eyes and jaws. The crab even has to slough parts of its stomach!
    The parts of the shell to be sloughed are its frontal and upper parts, there after the hind parts, the legs and the claws are sloughed.
    The new shell is soft and full of wrinkles. If the crab is picked up at this time, it fells like a wet and loose limbed cuddley animal. Because the crab at this time is completely defenceless with its soft shell, it looks for a safe hole before it starts sloughing.
    Before the new shell hardens the crab pumps itself up in size to make the shell large and spacious so it has room to grow into.
    It is only when the female has recently sloughed her shell that mating can take place.

Shore crab     More info     Photo     Other names
Home    Contents    Inspiration    Facts    Collaboration   
© Aquascope 2000   Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, Strömstad, Sweden
Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson