Mollusks, crustaceans and carrion are among a stone crab’s favorite meals, but the sizable specimen about which I’m writing has eaten its last supper, washing ashore from the surf off the north end of Myrtle Beach.
Having supplemented its last meal with a veggie, sea grass, the crab succumbed to time or the elements last week. It was cool for me to have seen the Menippe Mercenaria while hunting fossils on one of several successive mornings during which temperatures dropped to the low 30s. Menippe Mercenaria. I hope I got that right. One must almost be a genius to distinguish among the genus, phylum, family, class and kingdom of critters.
I’m a beach bum. Not a scientist.
Crabaceous Humongous lay on the damp foreshore with its claws in front of its face as if it were ready to defend itself. Stone Crabs’ claws are asymmetrical. The larger of the two claws is the crusher claw while the other is the pincer claw. The crabs’ predators include conchs, grouper, sea turtles, cobia and octopi.
Stone crabs are dependent on coastal nursery grounds. That makes us their biggest enemy. We need to do a better job of caring for the coast. That way beach bums will be able to enjoy them for a long, long time.
Sources: Wikipedia, sc.dnr.gov/