October 10, 2014
Common throughout the British Isles, the crab is one of the marine world’s ultimate survivors and is capable of withstanding extreme changes in both temperature and salinity.
Widespread around the British coastline the shore crab is a common sight hiding under stones on the beach or among seaweed.
They are extremely hardy creatures and can even live for long periods out of the water.
Blue Reef’s Sophia Medine said: “The displays team wanted to showcase one of our less celebrated native rockpool creatures.
“We often use them in our rock-pooling sessions but they wanted to give visitors a much greater insight in to their hidden lives under the water when the tide is in” she added.
Shore crabs are native to the north-east Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea, but has colonised similar habitats in Australia, South Africa, South America and both Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America.
They vary widely in colour ranging from a deep purple to almost white. Scientists believe some of the variation is due to genetics but the biggest factor is the need to blend in to their local environment.
Shore crabs can tolerate a huge range of salinities (from 4 to 52 ‰), and survive in temperatures of 0 to 30 °C (32 to 86 °F).
Females can produce up to 185,000 eggs, and larvae develop offshore in several stages before returning to the intertidal zone where they live among seaweeds and seagrasses, until they reach adulthood.
Shore crabs are unfussy eaters and are happy to scavenge for both live and dead food.
They are primarily nocturnal, although activity also depends on the tide, and crabs can be active at any time of day.
Their main predators are seabirds and larger fish species and, although they are caught commercially in the UK, they are eaten on the continent.
Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews/pictures call Sophia Medine or Steve Matchett on 01637 878134.