SOLVED: Mystery sea creature drama in Worthing 🦀

A new year walk on a very busy stretch of the West Sussex coastline. Proof, if you needed it, that I can do watery blogs.

Now, I am a total novice when it comes to marine ecosystems. I know mostly where the sea is and that the moon has convinced it to sway back and forth. It’s also made of water, among other things.

When it comes to crabs, however, nah.

My partner is a beach scourerer, snapping into squirrel-of-the-shore the moment she steps foot on a beach. She found this bizarre-looking shell/casing/wild packaging. I took a pic and then popped it onto iNaturalist. No dice.

I asked ‘marine ppl’ on Twitter. It appears this kind of person is particularly active on a Monday evening! Many replies later it turned out that it was a likely reproductive pouch of a female spiny spider crab. Thanks to everyone who helped.

Interestingly, a couple of other people had posted the exact same thing on the Worthing coastline in recent days. It shows the power of social media for community science and ecological learning, not just the misinformation, hate and division it seems famous for.

Sometimes iNaturalist doesn’t get the job done, often because the photos are technically inadequate. The very active ‘nature communities’ on Twitter can reach many people with helpful info, and very quickly. I find that with identification it’s a matter of several avenues of knowledge and information. In the same way that there is no one winning wildlife field guide, and definitely not for fungi.

On another note, I was kicking myself after forgetting to try and find Mercury and Venus slipping away with the Sun out at sea. Then again, a band of cloud on the horizon may have blocked any views. Maybe another time.

Thanks for reading.