Life Imitates Life

Rockweed on the beach in a pattern that resembles a crab

After spending so much time photographing shore crabs in a tide pool at Lagoon Creek in Redwood National Park, it amused me to find a crab made of rockweed on the way back to the trail. It amused me further when reviewing the pictures after I got home, after not noticing while on the beach that one of the real crabs was missing one of its large front claws, that I hadn’t noticed this false crab was also missing a front claw.

A lovely case of life imitating life.

The Lined Lair

A lined shore crab sits on damp rocks in front of barnacle shells

I was surprised to find how relaxing both of my short hiking trips were earlier this year as it normally takes me a bit longer to decompress from work before I can begin truly enjoying my time off. Perhaps it was partly because my most stressful project had finished. Partly because both destinations were within six hours of the house and thus didn’t require a lot of driving. But I also had a lot of fun each day, each with its unique charms, such as going out to the beach at Lagoon Creek in Redwood National Park and finding a lair of lined shore crabs.

While lair may not be accurate, this one does look like it’s guarding its lair with emptied barnacle shells and shadows behind it. There were a handful of crabs in this one little still-damp spot in the tide pools, the water not far off, and watching them and some nearby oystercatchers made for a delightful time on my spur-of-the-moment hike on the Yurok Loop Trail, my first visit to this section of the park.

The Missing Claw

A lined shore crab with a missing claw

One of the reasons I visited tide pools on my trips to Olympic National Park and Redwood National and State Parks was to get more familiar with the animals that live there, so I’d be better prepared to photograph them on future visits. On my visit to the beach along the Yurok Loop Trail (starts at the Lagoon Creek picnic and rest area off the highway in Redwood National Park) I was delighted to find a handful of crabs but didn’t know anything about them or even if they were all the same species. I looked them up when I got home and learned they were lined shore crabs, a new species for me.

I was so excited as I photographed them that I didn’t even notice until I got home that this one is missing one of its large front claws. Ever observant, that’s me. I was surprised to learn that although it does sometimes eat small animals, the lined shore crab feeds primarily on algae it scrapes off rocks as I had I assumed the fearsome looking claws were primarily used for combat.