Bizarre and Rare Crab Now on Display on N. Oregon Coast
(Seaside, Oregon) – A bizarre and very rare crab was caught on the north Oregon coast recently, and you can now see it. (Photos by Seaside Aquarium)
It was a crab with three pinchers on one of its arms – a deformity that no one at the Seaside Aquarium has ever seen, according to the aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe.
The crab was caught off the 12th Ave. Bridge in Seaside on October 18 by a crabber named Nathan Fulton, who donated it to the aquarium.
Boothe said the rarity is an exceptional one, and she believes the deformity happened early in the crab's development rather than one it was born with. The fact that the extra pincher is non-functional is part of what tells her that.
“As part of their growth process, crabs actually shed their old shells as they grow new ones,” Boothe said. “This process is called molting. Sometimes a crab is injured while molting. This can cause strange deformities in the crab’s shell, such as in this crab.”
If the crab was born with it, the pincher would be under its control, Boothe said. But it is not a functional one. This led her to believe the extra pincher happened during an injury.
It was likely a very early injury, however, as Boothe said the pincher is not that much smaller than the others. This means the pincher has had almost as much time to grow as the real pinchers.
It's possible the injury occurred in the larval stage – that early, Boothe said.
The crab is now on display at the aquarium so the public can see this oddity in person. But he's in a tank by himself and not with the other Dungeness crabs.
“He's so special I put him in a tank by himself and away from the others,” Boothe said. “Crabs can get, well, real crabby, and I don't want them to pull his pinchers off.”
On the Prom, Seaside, Oregon. (503) 738-6211. www.seasideaquarium.com
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