Crab Skeletons Galore!


Whilst exploring the Okia reserve in Dunedin, NZMSC educator Teresa came across over 30 crab moults in the high tide zone where they were left by the waves.

These moults were likely from the paddle crab Ovalipes catharus, a species of shallow water crab native to both New Zealand and Australia.

Crabs and other crustaceans grow a hard exoskeleton made of calcium to protect their bodies and organs, which is a great adaptation giving them a level of defence against their predators. However, because this shell is hard there comes a time where the crustacean must shed or moult this exoskeleton so that they can grow a new, roomier one within which they can grow. Leaving behind their old exoskeleton completely intact.



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