It's time to give the fishies a rest and talk about another group of underwater critters: crustaceans!!!
You know, those things with lots of legs, usually a set of claws and a hard shell around their body (which they have to ditch by moulting every time they want to grow...)?
Like this guy:
Ok, you can all stop salivating right now! I know he's of the "yummy" variety, but seriously, give him some space to stretch his legs!!! ;o)
You're actually very lucky he came out to pose for the cameras, he's got to be the shyest fellow in our Aquarium! I've only seen him half a dozen times in as many years!
Don't know his name? Monsieur Homard, or Lobster... big claws you don't want to get your fingers stuck between. Rather abundant on the seabed of the North Sea. When I took my Advanced diving course several years ago (here in Belgium, lots of dives from the dark waters off the Dutch coast) one of my instructors had the annoying habit of picking these guys up and passing them to us as a way of "teaching" them a lesson (beware two-legged critters, they might catch you and eat you instead of letting you go!). We saw some mighty big ones too...
Then there's the Langouste, a.k.a. the Spiny Lobster:
Very similar to the other guy, but notice the absence of claws. Doesn't stop him from enjoying a delicious meal of decomposing flesh though! Claws or no claws, both of these guys are mighty efficient sea-bottom vacuum cleaners!
How about we check out someone a bit smaller? Who somehow got cheated out of his own hard shell and so has to go around looking for someone else's he can borrow...
Yup, that's a Hermit Crab! There's actually quite a few of them in several of the tanks, but this was the only guy willing to let me get a decent shot. :p
Can you imagine scuttling around the seabed carrying your house on your back? Me neither!
And then there's one of our resident movie stars, Jacques.
What's that? You can't place him?! Why, he's one of the stars from Finding Nemo!!! And he's here to help us take care of our hippocampi. What is he? Oh, well he's a Cleaning Shrimp. And no he doesn't clean the aquarium (sorry Disney!), he cleans fish!
Yeah, yeah, I know... there's no way he could twirl around a fish like Nemo (no matter how small!) with spindly little legs like those. What he really does is dance around his client and pick off any little parasites he spots one by one... and eats them! One stop car-wash for the fish, and an all-you-can-eat buffet for him! ;o)
I seem to remember seeing some crabs somewhere around here (I do believe there was one sitting on a grouper last time I did a visit), but they didn't deign show themselves for the papparazzi. Their loss!
I'm sorry this edition of Fishy Friday was so late... I got sidetracked with a little trip to a place I call home! (a.k.a. Alicante!) Had an intense birthday weekend (my mom's 60th, a friend's 32nd) and several flights that were waaay to early to be decent! I've decided that for now Fishy Fridays is going to be a bi-monthly series, I've got too much on my plate at the moment to pull one of these out of my hat every Friday (just in case you hadn't noticed...). So I've decreed every first and third Friday of the month to be Fishy Fridays! Remember you're free to join in whenever! :o)