The masked crab (also known as the sand crab) has an elongated carapace, which is reddish brown to yellow in colour, and sometimes features patterns that look like a face (2). The bristly antennae are considerably longer than the carapace. The first pair of 'pereopods' (walking limbs) have pincers, and are roughly twice the length of the carapace in males, but are about the same length as the carapace in females (3).
The masked crab burrows backwards into the sand. Once it is in the sand, the crab forms a tube by fusing the bristles of the second pair of antennae together; it then draws water down this tube for respiration (3). It feeds on burrowing invertebrates, such as polychaete worms and bivalve molluscs (3). Females carry eggs for around 10 months, and can reproduce repeatedly for several years (3).
Skewes, M. 2001. Corystes cassivelaunus. Masked 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/Corystescassivelaunus.htm
Fish, J.D. and Fish, S. (1996) A student's guide to the seashore. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
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