Life on the Ocean Wave: going nowhere in particular
Stella M. Turk MBE
The Gulfweed Crab is always in motion
As its whole life is spent on the ocean
Its larvae must hitch a life-time lift
On wood, weed or, now, plastic drift
Borne nor’east by current and breeze.
They may reach us from warmer seas
With no return ticket they are destined to die
Chilled in our waters or left high and dry.
Traditionally this crab was carried on floating seaweed Sagassum natans or S. fluitans) from the Sargasso Sea. Commonly known as the Gulfweed or Floating Crab, it is also called Columbus Crab because Christopher Columbus was said to know that he was approaching land When he saw this crab clinging to seaweed!
This verse was prompted when Steve Trewhella found the very first Dorset record for this species when a number of them were found clinging to plastic and others were inside some wood. Hearing of this, Paul Gainey looked more carefully at plastic debris covered with goose-barnacles and soon found them on more than one Cornish shore. These were the first Cornish records for a century. After this was published, Jane Darke found one and another was reported by Paul Semmens and Martin Eliot. Three specimens discovered by sharp-eyed Gilan Goodall were taken tothe Blue Reef Aquarium where I believe they are still living.
Stella M Turk MBE