From a Crab’s perspective

The glorious sunshine has returned here in Portugal, and all thoughts seem to be turning to summer. So I thought I better post this before we forget the impact of Emma, Felix and Gisele. As you may recall from my flamingo post trees were uprooted and buildings damaged at the end of February, and the first two weeks of March were not much better. Unsurprisingly the barrier islands, beaches and cliffs took quite a battering.Stormy days at the beach

Huge amounts of sand were moved by the strong winds and tides at Praia do Barril, and consequently many of the anchors were uncovered. They look even more enormous now. As you may recall from my various posts on Barril the anchors were once an essential part of tuna fishing. Carried out to the boats by a dozen or so men they were then attached to the nets to create a complex fishing frame. They were left here at the end of the last tuna fishing season in the 1960s, and have not been moved since.

It was extraordinary to see how much sand has covered the anchors over the past 60 years, and to reflect on the strength of the storms. It is though the rose coloured crab which will be my lasting memory of last week’s stroll. Fiddler crabs we see everywhere but this crab, hiding its face behind its claws, we’ve not seen before. Its Latin name is Calappa granulata, and you are going to love its common name – Shame-faced Crabs. Yes you have guessed it because of the way they seem to cover their faces! They are found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean: from the Sahara to the coast of Portugal and Israel in the Mediterranean. Their diet is mollusks, and in turn they are a favoured food of the Greeks, Italians and Spanish. Apparently though it is not that common to find them.Calappa granulata

At the time we were concerned it might also have been affected by the recent storms as it was hardly moving. However I have since discovered they can remain inactive in a sandy burrow for days, so this one was probably creating a new burrow when we disturbed it. Sorry crab, if it makes you feel any better I am feeling somewhat shamefaced!

Author: BeckyB

It's a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, reading, blogging, and best of all spending time with family, friends & the cat!

23 thoughts

  1. How come I never spot these exotic creatures? 🙁 Not observant enough, I suspect. Very cute, but those anchors are a bit worrying. And was the sand all washed flat again? All that effort to suck it up!

  2. The number of anchors is amazing, but to just be left on the beach is disturbing. I guess now they have historical significance so they will remain. Hopefully they will be buried again.
    I am also amazed at the comments from people who don’t like crabs!!! Wonderful creatures. I love their scuttling. The Shame-faced Crab is just beautiful. I love the photo of it covering its face 🙂

    1. Oh I’m so pleased someone likes them as muchvas I do!!! Great the way they hide their faces. This one actually turned around to see what I was doing!!

    2. The anchors were left on the beach as usual at the end of the season in the 1960s. The fishermen had expected to return. When they didn’t a conscious decision was taken to leave them as a way to remember the industry.

      They were all destroyed at the remaining three tuna fishing stations.

    1. Oh yay you love them too…… have been surprised by how many don’t like them. This one just made me smile, I even asked its permission to take photographs!!!!

    1. You’re not the first to say that about the crabs. I find them fascinating creatures but wouldn’t pick one up!!!

      Glad you liked the anchors though. Over 200 would be used to create the fishing net framework.

  3. Interesting colour and shape ~ so unlike the crabs that I caught and let go in Scottish rock pools as a child.With his ‘hands’ over his eyes, this one could easily be mistaken for a rock! 🙂

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