How does a swarm of army ants take down a heavily armored fresh water crab? Let’s find out…
That’s gotta be a pretty terrible way to go.
I, for one, welcome our new chitinous overlords.
If you want to get a powerful appreciation for the insane degree of arthropod diversity on the planet; look no further than the photostream of artour_a on Flickr. This guy’s photographic work is unbelievable, both for his prowess with the camera, as well as for the stunning variety of rare, weird, and beautiful creatures he has captured from around the world.
I tried to select a few sample images to represent the spectrum of artour_a’s work, but I couldn’t do it justice. He has uploaded photos of literally thousands of arthropods. Go, get lost in his full invertebrate collections, here.
Check out this awesome trailer to the intentionally-hilariously-bad movie, King Crab Attack, from French director, Grégoire Sivan:
While the script and plot of this movie appear to be on par with Avatar, King Crab Attack’s special effects clearly blow James Cameron’s opus out of the water!
I’m going to share with you two stories about the Samurai Crab, Heikea japonica; one is a ancient Japanese legend, and the other is a modern piece of scientific folklore. First, the historical background of the Japanese myth…
April of 1185 was the end of the line for the Heike Empire in Japan. Their rival clan, the Genji, swept across the southern Inland Sea of Japan and annihilated the final, desperate armada of the Heike at the battle of Dan-no-ura. The defeated Heike child-emperor and his samurai, refusing to surrender, committed suicide by throwing themselves from their boats to drown.
The battle of Dan-no-ura represented a massive cultural and political shift in Japanese history. It was the end of the imperial Age of Courtiers, and the beginning of the Feudal Era of Japan, lasting from 1185 to 1868. During this time, the majority of Japan was ruled by a powerful military dictator, the shogun, and his samurai warriors. Naturally, such geopolitical upheaval has strongly ingrained itself in the culture of Japan, and folklore stemming from the battle of Dan-no-ura survives today.
Popular legend alleges that, following the battle Dan-no-ura, the souls of drowning Heike samurai warriors were transformed into crabs. These crabs are distinguished by having the faces of the fallen samurai on their backs. To this day the Heike crabs roam the depths of the oceans around Japan, searching for the lost heirlooms of their empire.
The ghost of the Heike general Taira no Tomomori (bottom left) at the bottom of the ocean with the anchor he used to drown himself following defeat at Dan-no-ura. He is joined by Heike crabs bearing the faces and souls of his comrades. By artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 17th century. Click to embiggen.
This cute crab was recently discovered in Taiwan by marine biologist Ho Ping-Ho, of the National Taiwan Ocean University.
Photo: National Taiwan Ocean University. Via: AP