Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Posts tagged “Mark Doty

The bronze crabs of Galway bay

galway crab shells 2
Nikon D700, 105mm macro lens, iso 400
Crab shell at Galway bay
Nature photography, Kilkenny photographer : Nigel Borrington

I came across these grab shells on a beach at the far end of Galway bay last year and there were hundreds of them, crabs molt their shells every time they have out grown them, some people think that this is at the turn of a new moon.

A Poem :

A Green Crab’s Shell

by Mark Doty

Not, exactly, green:
closer to bronze
preserved in kind brine,

something retrieved
from a Greco-Roman wreck,
patinated and oddly

muscular. We cannot
know what his fantastic
legs were like–

though evidence
suggests eight
complexly folded

scuttling works
of armament, crowned
by the foreclaws’

gesture of menace
and power. A gull’s
gobbled the center,

leaving this chamber
–size of a demitasse–
open to reveal

a shocking, Giotto blue.
Though it smells
of seaweed and ruin,

this little traveling case
comes with such lavish lining!
Imagine breathing

surrounded by
the brilliant rinse
of summer’s firmament.

What color is
the underside of skin?
Not so bad, to die,

if we could be opened
into this–
if the smallest chambers

of ourselves,
similarly,
revealed some sky.

galway crab shells 1
Nikon D700, 105mm macro lens, iso 400
Crab shell at Galway bay
Nature photography : Nigel Borrington

Molting: How Crabs Grow

Adult Tanner crab mating

Crabs (and other crustaceans) cannot grow in a linear fashion like most animals. Because they have a hard outer shell (the exoskeleton) that does not grow, they must shed their shells, a process called molting. Just as we outgrow our clothing, crabs outgrow their shells. Prior to molting, a crab reabsorbs some of the calcium carbonate from the old exoskeleton, then secretes enzymes to separate the old shell from the underlying skin (or epidermis). Then, the epidermis secretes a new, soft, paper-like shell beneath the old one. This process can take several weeks.