I found this crab floating in some kelp along the docks near where I live. These crabs are common predators at docks, as well as the rocky intertidal. Like any good biologists, I love me some dissections, and after seeing these guys scuttle around so often, it was a treat to get a closer look at one.
After removing its carapace, I was immediately interested in looking at the gills, or branchiae. I considered also taking a closer look at the eyes, but couldn’t figure out a good way to remove them from the carapace without damaging them. If anyone has a suggestion for trying that, let me know in the comments.
Here’s a couple of views through the Foldscope where the filaments or branches extend from the end of the branchial axis.
Here’s the end of the filaments. It is always striking to see something that looks so delicate in a slide.
For those who want to try this themselves, getting a closer look at the gills of this crab was pretty easy. The gills were easy to lay in place, and it took no extra scalpels or tools.