MEET THE MARINE LIFE
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Image credit: YVONNE OATES
Scientific name: Cancer pagurus
Also known as the ‘Edible Crab’, this distinctive crab can be found all around UK shores, and is easily recognised by the pie-crust edge to its rust brown shell and the black tipped pincers.
Image credit: PAUL EINERHAND / UNSPLASH
The Brown Crab, or Edible Crab, is well known throughout the UK and many other surrounding countries as a particularly popular seafood delicacy, so much so that a significant fishery has built up to catch this commercially valuable species, although there is little information on the impact this has had on the natural stocks.
As the largest crab species in British waters, a fully-grown adult is usually around 20cm across, with exceptional specimens reaching up to 30cms and weighing a colossal 9lbs. As with all local crab species, the Brown Crab has eight legs and two very large and powerful claws, tipped with black at the end of their pincers and capable of a very painful nip to any human it might come across. One of the most distinguishable features of this species is the pattern which runs along the edge of the oval-shaped shell, an interesting sort of crimping often described as resembling a pie crust.
DID YOU KNOW...?
The Brown Crab is the most commercially important species of crab in Europe, with 10,000 tonnes of the species harvested from the English Channel every year?
Feeding on mussels and other smaller crabs, it is thought that the Brown Crab can live for up to 30 or 40 years, possibly even longer! Unable to grow as most other animals do due to their hard, exterior shell, they must shed their exoskeleton by absorbing seawater and swelling until the shell separates, ready for them to grow a new one. The largest, fully-grown Brown Crabs will live in water up to 100 metres deep, but smaller specimens can be found on the edges of our coasts, hiding in the rocks amongst the barnacles and limpets.
Image credit: STEPHEN CHAMPION
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