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No. 102: Nov-Dec 1995

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King crab congregations

King crabs, besides being delicious and big (often 6 feet across), can be very elusive. They come and go on schedules erratic enough to drive Alaskan crabbers crazy. However, sometimes a crabber will get rich fast when he comes upon a strange habit of this crustacean:

"After a night of roaming, crabs often pile themselves into huge heaps, called pods. Some pods stretch hundreds of feet and contain thousands of crabs -- "a mountain of crab," says C. Braxton Dew, a National Marine Fisheries diver and researcher. Mr. Dew was one of the first scientists to document the pod phenomenon, snapping underwater photos near Kodiak in 1993. The pod contained as many as 30,000 king crabs."

No one knows why the crabs congregate in such huge numbers. (Richards, Bill; "Crabs Come and Go, Leaving Fishermen of Bering Sea at a Loss," Wall Street Journal, June 26, 1995. Cr. J. Covey)

From Science Frontiers #102 Nov-Dec 1995. � 1995-2000 William R. Corliss