Alright, this is not my picture (Again! Gotta get out and get more invert images!) but I've been a bit under the weather.
Anyways, the current Life Photo Meme is "Free"... well, these tiny red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) zoea aren't going to go free, but if the program they are part of works out like people are hoping, there might be many more of them going free in a few years with a hopeful rebound in stocks.
These zoea are part of the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation, and Biology (AKCRRAB) project in Alaska, a collaboration of industry, local, state, and federal groups to conduct research aimed at hatching and rearing wild red and blue king crabs in large scale hatcheries to a stage where they can be released into the wild and contribute to reversing low wild stock abundance in Alaska.
The program is in its second year, with two successful red king crab hatches. University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student Celeste Leroux has been conducting experiments to evaluate diet, culturing, density, and other parameter effects on larval growth and survival. Considering that they are highly cannibalistic in the early stages of life, one of the big hurdles will be learning how to maximize survival, while keeping large numbers of the larval crabs.
Classification of the red king crab:
- Paralithodes camtschaticus (Tilesius, 1815)