Precious Find |The Vineyard Gazette
At right is a rare box crab (Calappa) sighted by MBL's Dave Remsen in Vineyard Sound in Oct. 2012. This is the northernmost part of the crab's range and sightings here are rare. As this article notes, Remsen has left records of his observations of the crab in the database of iNaturalist. Photo credit: Dave Remsen
Steve Maxner of Vineyard Haven has a way with words and a way with shells. He is an artist and beachcomber who creates sculptures of found objects, processing his experiences in the Vietnam War. If you haven’t seen his work, you should. It can be seen on the Martha’s Vineyard Museum website. It is powerful, compelling, and thoughtful.
As is the man that creates it. Steve came to Felix Neck last week with a crab shell that he had never seen before. I recognized it immediately but it took a minute to pull its name out of my brain’s database. The last time I found and wrote about one was in 2006.
The carapace came from a shame-faced crab. Calappa is also known as a box crab because of its bulky shell and large claws that are held in front of its face. Back then, there was little information I could find on this water-bound denizen. That hasn’t changed too much, though I do have some updates on the rarity of this creature.