Leach, 1815 
Libinia canaliculata Say, 1817
|External identifiers for Libinia emarginata|
|Encyclopedia of Life||343476|
Libinia emarginata is roughly triangular in outline and very heavily calcified, with a carapace about 4 in (100 mm) long and a leg span of 12 inches (300 mm). The whole crab is khaki, and the carapace is covered in spines and tubercles, and, as with other decorator crabs, often clothes itself in debris and small invertebrates.
Mating takes place, and eggs are produced from June to September. The eggs are initially a bright orange-red, but turn brown during development, which takes around 25 days. The eggs then hatch as zoea larvae, and the female can produce another brood of eggs within 12 hours, unlike many other crab species whose females only mate immediately after molting.
Libinia emarginata is very similar to Libinia dubia with which it is largely sympatric. They can be told apart by examining the row of spines along the center of the carapace: in L. emarginata there are nine, while in L. dubia there are only six. Also, the rostrum of L. dubia is more deeply forked than that of L. emarginata.
Ecology and behavior
Unusually for crabs, L. emarginata preferentially walks forwards, rather than sideways, although they are also capable of sidelong movement. Its skeletal, muscular and neural anatomy more closely resembles that of forward-walking species, rather than that of more closely related sideways-walking species.
L. emarginata will mate in large aggregations. These aggregations may function as a protective mechanism during reproduction. Males of L. emarginata show an unusual "obstetrical behavior", in which gravid females who are about to release their larvae are held behind the male and aggressively protected.
- "Libinia emarginata Leach, 1815". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
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- Harriet Perry & Kirsten Larsen (2004). "A Picture Guide to Shelf Invertebrates from the Northern Gulf of Mexico" (PDF). Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
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- Andrés G. Vidal-Gadea & Jim H. Belanger (2013). "The evolutionary transition to sideways-walking gaits in brachyurans was accompanied by a reduction in the number of motor neurons innervating proximal leg musculature". Arthropod Structure & Development (in press). doi:10.1016/j.asd.2013.07.003.
- R. E. DeGoursey & P. J. Auster (1989). M. A. Lang & W. C. Jaap, ed. "Aspects of a mating aggregation of the spider crab, Libinia emarginata". Diving for Science…1989. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences annual scientific diving symposium 28 September – 1 October 1989. Woods Hole, MA: Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution.