Pharyngula

Galápagos Album: Sally Lightfoot

Comments

  1. #1 Kryth
    August 27, 2008

    Don’t be crabby this morning PZ.

  2. #2 Rowan
    August 27, 2008

    Wow that crabs legs are perfectly designed for standing on that rock. Not only that but the rock is perfectly designed for being stood on by a crab. Now if the rock or the legs weren’t there, the crab would be no longer able to stand on the rock. Thats called irreducible complexity.

    Checkmate ID-doubters!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO2n3GHGK7c

  3. #3 joeyknuccione
    August 27, 2008

    Beautiful pic. What’d it taste like?

  4. #4 Scrofulum
    August 27, 2008

    I once saw a huge Sally Lightfoot crab scuttle at full pelt out of a rockpool and go for a small lava heron standing about three feet away, making it leap into the air and fly off (the heron, not the crab). For a crab, this seemed like a pretty sophisticated threat recognition system to me, but then I’m not a crabologist, so it might be common.

    Also – purdy ain’t they?

  5. #5 Joe
    August 27, 2008

    “Beautiful pic. What’d it taste like?”

    Human!

    Just kidding. Nobody knows what they taste like. Count the legs- they run too fast for us to catch them.

  6. #6 Stanton
    August 27, 2008

    Is it true that they climb onto the marine iguanas and pick skin off of them?

  7. #7 Glenn
    August 27, 2008

    Absolutely beautiful. Such glowing colors!

  8. #8 S.Scott
    August 27, 2008

    Gorgeous!

  9. #9 Jared
    August 27, 2008

    Absolutely stunning photo, good angle to see those subtle hints of blue on the underside.

  10. #10 curious
    August 27, 2008

    Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts ran into these:

    “Man reacts peculiarly but consistently in his relationship with Sally Lightfoot. His tendency eventually is to scream curses, to hurl himself at them, and to come up foaming with rage and bruised all over his chest… Eventually we did catch a few Sallys, but we think they were the halt and the blind, the simpletons of their species. With reasonably well-balanced and non-neurotic Lightfoots we stood no chance.”

  11. #11 Duvenoy
    August 27, 2008

    Excellent picture! Less colorful relatives of this lovely, little crab can be found scuttling about the rocks on ‘most any temperate or tropical shore. As a kid, I sometimes kept them as pets — when I could catch one! They are all but impossible to sneak up on and can disappear into amazingly narrow crevases.

    doov

  12. #12 Patricia
    August 27, 2008

    Beautiful!
    A lovely photo of my ‘Sun sign’ symbol, so I’m prejudiced.

  13. #13 Jared
    August 27, 2008

    I forgot to ask, how close did you get to one?

  14. #14 Kimpatsu
    August 27, 2008

    Hey, PZ, Phil Plait says you have crabs.
    I take it he’s right…?

  15. #15 asad
    August 27, 2008

    Where’s the picture of the Gordon Lightfoot crab?

  16. #16 Bacopa
    August 27, 2008

    Interesting story about the crab and the heron, I don’t know how big that type of heron is, but if it was fairly small I can see how a crab might have evolve the ability to recognize the threat and go on the offensive. I’ve seen wolf spiders rear up and snap their fangs while waving two of their legs if I look at them directly from about five feet away. I think they sense the symmetry of my face and have an instinct to turn toward a face and threaten. If I were a spider-eating nuthatch I’d be put off by the threat. And wolf spiders have a pretty strong bite. There’s one that patrols my aquarium lights who gave me a weird skin condition from a bite.

  17. #17 Beadknitter
    August 27, 2008

    Wow! What beautiful coloring.

  18. #18 Doubting Foo
    August 27, 2008

    Thanks, I’m using that as my new desktop background image.

  19. #19 Kseniya
    August 27, 2008

    Where’s the picture of the Gordon Lightfoot crab?

    If you could read my mind, you’d know. As the big crabs go, it was bigger than most.

  20. #20 Scrfoulum
    August 27, 2008

    Bacopa at #16
    It was a big crab and a small heron, so maybe you’re right. On the other hand, it could’ve just had anger management issues – where all the other crabs keep away from him, muttering “He goes for herons, him.” and avoiding eye contact.

  21. #21 Brownian, OM
    August 27, 2008

    If you could read my mind, you’d know. As the big crabs go, it was bigger than most.

    Oh Kseniya. You’re just like a paperback novel.

  22. #22 Joe
    August 27, 2008

    “Oh Kseniya. You’re just like a paperback novel.”

    The kind that drugstores sell?

  23. #23 Bride of Shrek OM
    August 27, 2008

    Wherever I move in the room its eyes are still looking at me. Spooky pink eyeballs. Now forever in my nightmares.

  24. #24 tonyJ
    August 27, 2008

    Gorgeous, I hope some trilobites looked this good, think of the eons of beauty we have missed. Oops the world’s only 6000 years old! My mistake, what am I thinking of?
    Ok, for us photography geeks could you be so kind as to tell us what the camera, lens and shot data where? If you can of course.great shot.

  25. #25 Eli
    August 27, 2008

    #19, you have made my day. I love a good joke… or anything, really… about the Gord.

  26. #26 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    August 27, 2008

    tonyJ

    He used a Nikon D50. F 8, 1/320 sec. The large image you get by clicking on it is 1920 X 1200 pixels. Perfect for my desktop image, which it now is.

    iPhoto told me so.

  27. #27 Ron Sullivan
    August 28, 2008

    He used a Nikon D50.

    Cripes, that’s what I use and I’ve never taken anything that good.

    I am abashed.

  28. #28 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    August 29, 2008

    John Steinbeck, wearing his biologist hat, produced this wonderful prose on the subject of the crab.

    Many people have spoken at length of the Sally Lightfoots. In fact, everyone who has seen them has been delighted with them. The very name they are called by reflects the delight of the name. These little crabs, with brilliant cloisonné carapaces, walk on their tiptoes, They have remarkable eyes and an extremely fast reaction time. In spite of the fact that they swarm on the rocks at the Cape [San Lucas], and to a less degree inside the Gulf [of California], they are exceedingly hard to catch. They seem to be able to run in any of four directions; but more than this, perhaps because of their rapid reaction time, they appear to read the mind of their hunter. They escape the long-handled net, anticipating from what direction it is coming. If you walk slowly, they move slowly ahead of you in droves. If you hurry, they hurry. When you plunge at them, they seem to disappear in a puff of blue smoke–at any rate, they disappear. It is impossible to creep up on them. They are very beautiful, with clear brilliant colors, red and blues and warm browns.

    Man reacts peculiarly but consistently in his relationship with Sally Lightfoot. His tendency eventually is to scream curses, to hurl himself at them, and to come up foaming with rage and bruised all over his chest. Thus, Tiny, leaping forward, slipped and fell and hurt his arm. He never forgot nor forgave his enemy. From then on he attacked Lightfoots by every foul means he could contrive and a training in Monterey street fighting has equipped him well for this kind of battle). He hurled rocks at them; he smashed at them with boards; and he even considered poisoning them. Eventually we did catch a few Sallys, but we think they were the halt and the blind, the simpletons of their species. With reasonably well-balanced and non-neurotic Lightfoots we stood no chance.