Try not to be crabby, dissections can be quite interesting

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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.

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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.

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Here’s a couple of views through the Foldscope where the filaments or branches extend from the end of the branchial axis.

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Here’s the end of the filaments. It is always striking to see something that looks so delicate in a slide.

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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.