Thursday, 23 September 2010

Rare albino 'devil crab' is caught off the Cornish coast

Friday, September 03, 2010

A fisherman was stunned yesterday after snaring this "extremely rare" albino crab off the coast of Britain.

The all white crustacean – which has bright red eyes – was caught half a mile out to sea near Mylor in Cornwall.

Experts say it is a velvet swimming crab, which is also known as a devil crab.

The crab was snared by fisherman Cameron Henry and is being cared for at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

Spokesman David Waines said: "Albino crustaceans are extremely rare, however no one here has ever heard of an albino swimming crab.

"Normally these types of crab are a deep blue or purple colour so to get one like this is very unusual indeed.

"As well as being rare, white or albino crustaceans do not tend to survive for long in the wild as they rely on their natural camouflage to protect them from predators.

"However, devil crabs are renowned for their extremely aggressive behaviour and it may be that – in spite of being such an obvious target – this particular crab was able to fight off would-be hunters.

"Although they rarely exceed 10cms in length they will try and attack even the largest intruder – including humans – waving their claws violently from side to side."

Velvet swimming crabs get their name because their shells are covered with dense, velvety hair and they use their paddle-like hind legs to swim away from attackers.

They are found from northern Norway to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

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