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  • Writer's pictureSarah McCartney

the orange crab disaster and five more specimens arrive …

Five new specimens arrived this week.

But first an update on the Asian shore crab. It went a bit wrong after my last post. Now it’s all OK I can own up but at the time it was a bit of a disaster. Remember the beautiful pinned out crab all ready to embed in my last post? Well I poured it and the resin set fast as it was very warm weather and I stupidly got a bit carried away and put another layer on after half and hour, then another after another half hour or so. It all looked great. Till I went back a few hours later. It had got hot. Really hot and not only had cracks popped up everywhere but I’d cooked it!

I was so upset I didn’t photograph it. I set to work grinding out the cracks and refilling them with resin so you could see the crab and it looked all right but there was nothing I could do about the colour. What was a brownish, green crab was now bright orange… not much good as an identification tool! And it had come all the way from France and was the only specimen I had. Big mess up.

But things always have a way of working out. A few weeks later someone happened to be in France and found another specimen.

Very carefully and very slowly I pinned my second specimen out to dry then set it in resin.

Very carefully…

… and thankfully it came out just about perfect this time.

I think the orange is quite a beautiful colour and this is the sort of happy accident I embrace when I am doing my own work. But it is no good for a biologist. Lessons learnt.

The Natur Cymru, Nature of Wales blog reports finding this crab earlier this year.

The new specimens I got this week are manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum and a razor shell Ensis directus.

Then Urosalpinx cinerea, Ocenebra inornata and Zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha, which I have started setting today.

I think that is the last of them other than the wire weed which will have a wooden frame like the wakame. Be good to see the whole collection finished. It’s going off to France in September. More about that when I know.

So lots of sanding and polishing to do now.

For more information on non-native species go to ERCCIS. There is also NNSS

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