The Colors of Nature in Cancer Crabs and Stunning Sunsets

Straight from the fish's mouth: a juvenille red rock crab (photo: E. Loury)

Erin Loury

by Erin Loury, Ichthyology Lab

This baby red rock crab (Cancer productus), only about an inch wide, still shows some of its bright patterning even after being digested in a gopher rockfish stomach.  Spending more hours than I’d care to admit sifting through fish guts may give one a slightly skewed perspective on the definition of “pretty,” but after identifying so many drab brownish crabs of other species, I found this little guy downright bedazzling.   The color variation in this species is captivating: check out its shocking-white color morph.

How charitable of nature to lend its best colors to both baby crabs and the evening sky.  After hours of staring through the microscope, nothing is more rewarding than stepping out on the back deck of the lab to soak up the amazing view.

photo: E. Loury

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