As its name suggests, the common shore crab is one of the commonest crabs on the British shore, and anyone who has gone rock-pooling is likely to have encountered one (3). This species is usually dark green in colour, although young individuals may have whitish blotches. The carapace of the common shore crab is wider than it is long, and the first pair of walking limbs ('pereopods') have pincers (2).
Breeding peaks in summer, and mating can only take place shortly after the female common shore crab moults; the male finds a female before she is due to moult, and carries her around underneath his body for a number of days (2). After the moult, copulation occurs. The female creates a cavity by burrowing in the sand; she lays the eggs whilst positioned over this cavity, attaches them to her walking legs and carries them around for several months (2). After hatching, the common shore crab larvae are planktonic for 2-3 years. They then settle as young crabs, and reach maturity after around a year (2).
In arthropods (insects, crabs etc), the fused head and thorax (the part of the body located near the head) also known as 'cephalothorax'.
Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, woodlice and barnacles.
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
Stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
A diverse group of invertebrates, mainly marine, that have one or all of the following; a horny, toothed ribbon in the mouth (the radula), a shell covering the upper surface of the body, and a mantle or mantle cavity with a type of gill. Includes snails, slugs, shellfish, octopuses and squid.
Periodic shedding of (usually) the outermost body covering (such as feathers, fur or skin) during growth and development, or at specific times of the year.
Aquatic organisms that drift with water movements; may be either phytoplankton (plants), or zooplankton (animals).
Fish, J.D. and Fish, S. (1996) A Student's Guide to the Seashore. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Buczacki, S. (2002) Fauna Britannica. Hamlyn, London.
Pizzolla, P.F, 2002. Carcinus maenas. Common shore crab. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. (November, 2002) http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/Carcinusmaenas.htm
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