November 17, 2011

Apart from birds, there were plenty of toads (both at Dongtan and at our field site dorms), mudskippers, and crabs. Chongming is regionally famous for its freshwater crabs, ranging from the “waving at the tide” crab, to the square crab, to the “big claw” crab. Males of this species have one claw that balloons to supercrabtacular proportions, while the other claw is diminished and petite, and used for foraging—i.e., shovelling food into the mouth, as all gently-born crabs are taught by their crab mamas. Females have two small claws and are jealously guarded by the males.

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