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Impurest's Guide to Animals #57 - Gozillognomus sp and Samurai Crab

Well it is official; Impurest’s Guide to Animals is one years old today!! So with all my heart I say thank you to everyone who commented, critiqued, read and reviewed this series and got us this far. And while we’re no Immortal Jellyfish (last week’s issue) I hope that I can give you all another years worth of issues. And without further ado, and a little suggestion from @ccraft, I present to you this weeks issue…

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Issue #57 - Godzillognomus schrami

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Arthropoda

Class – Remipedia

Order – Nectioedia

Family – Godzillidae

Genus – Godzillognomus

Species – schrami

Related Species - Despite appearances, G. schrami, as well as the twenty three other species in the class Remipedia, are crustaceans (1)

Range - Godzillognomus schrami is found in a single anchaline like on the island of Eleuthera, in the Bahamas

Up from the Depths

Godzillognomus schrami is a blind marine crustacean, which grows to just under a centimeter in length. Living under a layer of sulfur rich water, they swim using the oar like limbs (the name Remipede translates to Oar-Foot in Latin) on each segment of their body. For some reason this arrangement of ‘legs’ rotates the Remipede onto its back, and as such they swim upside-down (2).

The fang of a Remipede [2]
The fang of a Remipede [2]

Being blind Remipedes navigate using touch, and in some species including Godzillognomus schrami, a highly developed sense of smell. And while there is debate over whether the species is a scavenger or an active predator, several of the relatives of Godzillognomus schramis are venomous, and do indeed hunt live prey. The venom is similar in chemical make-up, as that of terrestrial rattlesnakes, although other features set it apart from the venom used by more closely related terrestrial arthropods (3).

And after this there's more, as another little crustacean emerges just as the Remipede swims back into the darkness

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Issue #57a - Samurai Crab

[3]
[3]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Arthropoda

Class – Malacostraca

Order – Decapoda

Family – Dorppidae

Genus – Heikopsis

Species – japonica

Related Species - The genus Heikopsis contains one species, besides the Samurai Crab, Heikeopsis arachnoides (1)

Range - Samurai Crabs are found in coastal waters off the Southern tip of Japan

Ghost in the Shell

The Samurai Crab is a small crustacean, with a carapace width of 6cm, with visible muscle attachments to the shells, which create a series of ridges on their backs. Like the majority of crustaceans Samurai Crabs are Bentham (bottom dwellers) and act as opportunistic scavengers, feeding off of shellfish, dead or weakened fish and the bodies of larger animals that sink to the bottom. It was this opportunistic feeding behavior that sparked the current level of folklore that surrounds these crabs.

During the Genpei War (1180 - 1185 AD), the Emperor, at the time only a child, and his most loyal samurai, were attacked and defeated in the bay of Dan-no-ura. Years after their bodies had sunk to the bottom; fisherman began to catch crabs with unsettling patterns on their shells, ones that resembled the masks of samurai warriors. Through a phenomenon called pareodolia, a condition where the mind sees images of people or animals in unconnected objects (4), the local people believed that the samurai spirits had been trapped in the crab’s shells and continued to watch over them from the beyond. However things are never that simple, cultural records show the crabs weren't overly fished in historic times, in fact the reason for these ‘masks’ at all was simple, the bigger the ridges the stronger the crab (5).

[4]
[4]

Bibliography

1 - www.arkive.org

2 - Cameron McCormick (November 10, 2008). "Remipedia".The Lord Geekington.

3 - http://www.ibtimes.com/first-venomous-crustacean-found-remipede-liquefies-prey-toxic-bite-1438838

4 - Zusne, Leonard; Jones, Warren H (1989). Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 77–79

5 - http://martinjclemens.com/the-heikegani-crabs-and-the-problem-with-pareidolia/

Picture References

1 - http://www.fsbio-hannover.de/oftheweek/160/title.jpg

2 - http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/images/taxa/inverts/speleon_fang_b.jpg

3 - https://cristyburne.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/samurai-crab.jpg

4 - https://arthropoda.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/h-japonica.jpg

Wow so one year, one year that’s gone by in a flash. We get back to our gooey trio next week as well as our usual format. But until then critic, comment and check out past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary

Happy One Year Anniversary

Impurest Cheese

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