|Rubber Bug Collecting: Crustaceans
The subphylum Crustacea includes such animals as crabs, lobsters, shrimp, barnacles, woodlice and
water fleas. Curiously, these creatures are almost never referred to as "bugs" in our popular culture,
perhaps due to their popularity as food items. Like it or not, the Crustaceans are so genetically similar
to insects that the two are considered "sister" groups in the phylum Arthropoda, while the arachnids
and other arthropods are better thought of as their "cousins."
The vast majority of Crustaceans are fully aquatic, and hold a monopoly among the arthropoda on
marine environments. In other words, very few arachnids and even fewer insects can be found in
brackish or salty water, due largely to the simple fact that crustaceans were there first, and will always
out-compete other arthropods in their briny domain.
This smaller representation of the edible
bay-dwelling crab comes in an unnatural but
rather pleasing purple coloration. The
paddle-like rear legs of these crabs allow them
to swim in an almost comical wobbling motion.
This solid rubber crab is common in the
souvenir shops of my home state. Can you
guess which? These ungodly delicious bugs
(sorry, bugs...you can get me back when I'm
dead) are naturally blue-green until cooked.
A cool little pink crab of the "fiddler" variety, so
named for the single oversized claw in the
males, who use them to fend off rivals and
advertise themselves to females.
This soft rubber lobster or shrimp has extremely
long, floppy antennae.
This attractively colored lobster is a
water-squirting toy, and came in a set with a
large pink cicada that I unfortunately misplaced
at a young age. You can tell where this used to
have a pair of feelers.
I got this hard little plastic crab from a seafood
restaurant, where they were hooked onto wine
glasses or scattered as table decorations.
These two water-squirting crabs were found at separate dollar
stores, and can also be seen on another section of my website.
Have you found it?! Gosh!