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A torrent of crabs

A torrent of crabs

After a six-month dry season in coastal Panama, the first rains bring masses of bright red land crabs boiling out of their burrows in the forest and scrambling across the shore to the water, where the females lay fertilized eggs in the sea.


The brilliantly colored crabs, Gecarcinus quadratus, are abundant near the Liquid Jungle Lab in Panama, but little was known about them before MIT-WHOI Joint Program student Joanna Gyory discovered how the species completes its life cycle, from eggs, through several stages of marine larvae, to juveniles that migrate back to land, to the land-dwelling adults.

(Photo by Joanna Gyory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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