Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mind-blowing crabs

Let's do an experiment. First, we'll take your basic group of crabs crawling around in the sea. Next we'll find an isolated island in the South Pacific with a variety of ecosystems. Finally, we'll sprinkle our crabs around the island and let them survive and reproduce in their new environments. After say, a few million years, voila! We'll have a mind-blowing variety of crabs.

Nobody started this experiment on the island of Espiritu Santo several million years ago, but they may as well have. A 2006 biodiversity expedition found about 10,000 species new to science, including this astonishing parade of well-dressed crabs. I have fallen instantly in love with these little guys.

To read more about the crabs, the island and the expedition, go here.

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