Scientists clawing for answers

Scientists clawing for answers

The unusual claw was brought into the Courier office last week by a local angler, who caught the crab on April 1.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he caught the legal-sized female crab using drop nets in Warnbro Sound and that he didn’t notice the deformity; he’d already cooked the crab and was about to eat the claw.

‘I’ve never seen anything like this before and if I’d realised before cooking it I would’ve left the crab whole,’ he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Fisheries said neither the biodiversity or bio-security departments could offer a definitive answer on how the crab could’ve developed such an unusual appendage, but ruled out the possibility of outside factors including pollution being responsible.

‘(The departments) believe the claw image shows what seems to be a congenital deformity, unusual perhaps but nothing sinister,’ she said.

‘The crab has clearly made it to legal size, suggesting that the animal adapted to cope with its disability and managed to feed and grow without significant disadvantage.

‘Similar deformities occur naturally in other animals including humans which they can often adapt to.’

Have you seen a crab claw like this or caught anything unusual in local waters? Send an email to weekendcourier@communitynews.com.au or call 9599 1814.