Masked Crab

I recently found some dead Masked Crabs in Fairlight Cove at low tide, but a fascinating hour spent shrimping with Cliff and Basil Dean at Pett levels yesterday produced a living one.
We didn’t catch this one, but saw it in the surf. The picture shows it cleaning or straightening its long antennae, which the crab holds together to form a tube down which it draws water when burrowed in the sand. This one, which is a male from the length of its claws, burrowed in as we watched.
The name comes from the resemblance of markings on the carapace to a human face, obscured here by an encrustation of barnacles.


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