Parasitized Fossil Crabs


Tumidocarcinus giganteus

Many fossil crabs show evidence of having been parasitized during life.  The crab at left is a parasitically-castrated  male.  The abdomen is broad, mimicking that of a female.  The parasite was a rhizocephalan barnacle that uses the host's reproductive organs as food, castrating the animal.  The barnacle produces a sac-like structure from which it reproduces; this sac rests upon the male's abdomen.

Photo by R. Feldmann

Torynomma sp.

This crab is infested with a bopyrid isopod, which lives in the gill chambers of the crab.  The asymmetrical swelling on the right side of the carapace is evidence of the isopod's presence.

Photo by R. Feldmann

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