Spider crab molting


44 Responses to “Spider crab molting”

  1. mikelipino says:

    Gah, thanks for the heebie jeebies! The thought of all those still-squishy limbs slithering their way out of the old armor is making me feel a bit faint… That said, if the still squishy crab accidentally wandered into a deep fryer, I’d be all over it.

  2. Quiche de Resistance says:

    I need a cigarette.

  3. weatherman says:

    Science can be educational and delicious!

  4. rothstei says:

    What do you think it feels like? I’m imaging finally removing a scab, covering the entire body.

    • apoxia says:

      Perhaps, and I’m thinking the new soft shell would be very sensitive to touch before it hardens.

    • stegodon says:

      watching this made me feel uncomfortably claustrophobic, like taking off a ski jacket while riding in a prius

  5. muteboy says:

    @8, that’s exactly what I was thinking. It must feel like when you lost your baby teeth – kind of itchy-hurty

  6. Gridwolf says:

    Crab coming out.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My reaction to this was a jaw-dropping HOLY CRAP! I was NOT expecting that! Amazing!

  8. remi says:

    Can someone explain to me how the mechanics of this works? It looks impossible!

    Does the crab pulls his legs out first and store them somewhere in the old shell before pulling his body out? I ask because, it looks as if the legs are already loose by the time the body is out.

    This is NOT like how I get out of my shirt. I get my body out and then pull each arm out separately. However, I remember seeing kids who pull both arms out and then push the shirt over their head, which looks like how this crab is doing it. Except I don’t understand where he puts his legs inside the shell!

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I ran into a freshly molted lobster once in the shallows in New England. It was quite, quite gelatinous. Horrifyingly, nightmarishly gelatinous.

    • Jerril says:

      If it helps any, watch the limb motion. When it stops filter feeding with the first pair of limbs (And walking around on the other eight) and settles down, I’d say that’s when it’s started “shrugging” out of the legs. After that, the twitching is just secondary movement caused by pulling it’s legs out of the carapace’s legs.

  9. Sekino says:

    Crab nudity!! NSFW!

  10. JoshP says:

    the horror… @13 i bet there’s some secretion involved. yug, i like my bugs better with rice.

  11. Wordguy says:

    That’s awesome. I wonder how long the shell stays soft?

    It looks like one leg got stuck on the way out. At about 1:06 you can see a little outside help via a stick poking at the leg in the old shell.

  12. Ted8305 says:

    mmmm… softshell crab…

  13. imnothere says:

    hmmm…sorry, i was distracted by the creepy radula action of the mollusks.

  14. Alan says:

    I kinda expected the little crabs to swarm the big crab when it finally molted.

  15. optuser says:

    Good lord. I was just expecting the top to pop off. WOW.

  16. The Hamster King says:

    Now ZOIDBERG is the popular one!

  17. Ugly Canuck says:

    It kind of just withdraws from the old carapace, doesn’t it?

  18. Phlip says:

    The twitching and fidgeting before the molt is PMS – Pre-Molt Syndrome. No lie.

  19. dw_funk says:

    Oh, spider crab. You look so horrifying, but you’re so delicious.

  20. remi says:

    Thanks for the replies.
    Something interesting seems to happen between 50s and 59s marks. If you look at his 3rd left leg and 4th right leg (counting from the bottom), you see something white stick out of the front and then retreat back in. I wonder if that’s just him squishing around and pulling his legs in…

  21. Anonymous says:

    Ah, the precious aliens among us!

  22. nerak says:

    sweet jumpin jesus. that’s got to be one of the creepiest things i’ve ever seen.

    now, get in my belly.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I’m with imnothere, the little skittery things and the tonguing mollusks were fabulous.

  24. Anonymous says:

    What I’d like to see: the crab trying to pull the old shell *back* on…

  25. Anonymous says:

    kill it with fire!

    • Felton says:

      kill it with fire!

      No! Kill it with boiling water, then make sure it’s dead with large doses of lemon and butter!

  26. Anonymous says:

    nuke it form orbit – it’s the only way to be sure.

  27. andrew2.71828 says:

    Would someone (one of you kids) please post this video in reverse?

  28. thequickbrownfox says:

    Mechanics of this explained here (doesn’t make it less creepy, though).


  29. nehpetsE says:


  30. SamSam says:

    Wow. So shocking when it suddenly comes off.

    Is it eating all those little crabs, by the way? It’s a little hard to tell.

  31. Chartreuse says:

    Is it just me, or do you immediately thing about melting some butter and diving into a plate of softshells after watching this?

  32. Gutierrez says:

    Now I want a spider hand roll.

  33. mgfarrelly says:


    When the legs came out I actually gasped. Amazing and beautiful.

    Odd note: the youtube ad I got was for “BP’s Youtube Channel”. Regeneration and degeneration all at once.

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