Crab sheds its shell by crawling out of its own body
Published : Sunday, 10 February, 2019 at 3:56 PM Count : 655
Striking footage showing the Japanese crab shedding its shell by stepping out of its own body has been caught on camera at San Diego Seaworld.
The video shows the crab's brightly coloured new body emerging out of its old body through its torso, or, thorax, daily Mail reports.
The new body pushes through initially in a highly squashed form, with the legs and claws squashed together the body and then expand out as it crawls out of the shell.
The footage shows the new shell-less body looking exactly like a duplicate of the old shell but much lighter in colour.
The Japanese spider crab is the biggest crab in the world and is recognisable by its small body to leg length ratio.
It has a leg to leg span of up to 18 ft (5.5 metres) and a claw span of around 10 ft (3 metres).
The video shows the crab pushing up its old shell at an opening near the eyes and eventually emerging whole-bodily out of its former shell.
Crustaceans have an outer hard skeleton that cannot grow, so the only way to get bigger is to entirely shed its former shell.
The process is call moulting, and is also seen in snakes and serpents.
The process can happen from every few months to a few years.
A crab is vulnerable to attack after it moults as it has no shell.
It then needs to then grow a new shell which can take up to a week or more to harden.
The video footage is a sped up version of a process that takes around 15 minutes.