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Blue Crab, After Molting (Image 1 of 2)

Caption:

A Blue Crab Callinectes sapidus two hours after molting.

Even though the old rigid external skeleton has been shed, this "soft-shell" crab is still capable of forceful movement. Simultaneous measurements of force and internal pressure suggest that the soft water-inflated body may rely on a hydrostatic skeletal support system similar to that of worms. Thus, the animal alternates between rigid and hydrostatic skeletons as it grows.

Invertebrate musculoskeletal systems are the focus of on-going studies in the laboratory of Dr. William M. Kier, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and supported in part by the National Science Foundation. Hydrostatic skeletal support systems have been a particular focus of Dr. Kier's work. [See Taylor, J.R.A. and Kier, W.M. (2003) Switching Skeletons: Hydrostatic Support in Molting Crabs. Science 301: 209-210.]

Blue Crab, After Molting (Image 1 of 2)
(Preview Only)

Credit: Credit William M. Kier, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Year of Image: 2003

Categories:

ANIMALS / BIRDS / REPTILES / FISH
OCEAN SCIENCE / General

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No additional restrictions--beyond NSF's general restrictions--have been placed on this image. For a list of general restrictions that apply to this and all images in the NSF Image Library, see the section "Conditions".

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Last Modified: Mar 29, 2001