Professor D'Arcy Thompson had some interesting things to say about crabs'in his recent lecture at the Royal Institution. London. ■ '
There was one crab of the V.spider ." variety which, he said, turned the top of his shell into, a sort of garden. He was often to be seen taking cuttings of marine vegetation and carefully planting them-on his back, where they took root among the'hairs, which meanwhile hold them in position. . "This little creature," said/Professor Thompson, " is a master, if not, indeed, rbfi inventor, of what we have come to call camouflage." • In the opening passages of his lecture Professor Thompson told how, getting up in the early, hours .of the morning, he went to Billingsgate Market and bought, a large live lobster, and it was th-e creature's distinguished destiny to be in the limelight at his lecture. It had, the lecturer thought, . more than 100,000 eggsr—an everyday average with lobsters. But he warned his heavers not to suppose that the actual size of a lobster's family approaches the possible size. If only 50,000 eggs became able-bodied crustaceans, and .each produced -50,000 more, and so on, there would presently be so many lobsters in the sea that ships would be unable to move. .;... ■■
Even if from .every pair of lobsters three resulted as a permanent average, the same awkward state of 'affairs would eventually result. So the Professor explained that, speaking generally, from the 100.000 eggs only two lobsters hatch and live.
Professor Thompson told how the I lobster was called "the man in armour." and . described how its outer oasina: very closely resembled the ancient bronze mail of the Japanese caste known as the Samurai. Its body was perfectly jointed on the most scientific principles, and each ring in ita- armour., had its own pair of legs, so that it had many legs of different kinds. It carried about with it its own little tooth-brush', on each jaw, and its breathing gills' were tucked. : underneath its.^ body armour, and connected with its legs, so that walking exercise supplied* respiratory action.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9610, 15 May 1919
CAMOUFLAGED CRAB. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9610, 15 May 1919
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