Name of Organism
Common Name- Twinkie Fish (It's because is looks like a Twinkie, but it's actually not a fish)
Scientific Name- subcinericius pagurus (It literally means Cake Crab in Latin. Its because it's a Crab and it also looks like a Twinkie.
Ocean Zone and Habitat
Cake Crabs utilize different habitat depending on the stage in their development. The eggs are laid on coastal beaches in late spring and summer. After hatching, the juvenile crabs can be found offshore on the sandy ocean floor of tidal flats where they stay until they reach costal beaches to lay their eggs. They live in the Benthic Zone in the Neritic Zone, or the sandy bottom near the shore. They live in the Euphoric and Epipelagic Zones, which are near the surface of the water and where there is a lot of light.
Physical Traits and Adaptions to Environment
The Cake Crab is most noticed by it's bright yellow color, which warn off predators, as the yellow is due to a chemical poison in its body, the same poison in the fugu fish (puffer fish). The Cake Crab has small legs that allow them to navigate the sandy bottom of the ocean and large eyes that have a film around them to protect them from debris that might enter their eyes. They have a very hard outer shell that is made up of tough dead skin.
The Cake Crab uses its small legs located on their underside to navigate the sand ocean floor. They are vagabond Benthos creatures that travel by simply scurrying on the ocean floor.
Cake Crabs are somewhat similar to fish in that they are equipped with gills for breathing. The gills themselves are feathery type structures located on their sides. In order to breathe on land, crabs must keep these gills moist so that oxygen in the air can still be absorbed. Gills work because oxygen is a very small molecule. During respiration these oxygen molecules first dissolve into a layer of moisture surrounding a thin membrane. Then these molecules cross through the membrane and enter the circulatory system (the blood stream) of the Cake Crab. The source of oxygen can then either be used as gas in the air or already dissolved into another liquid such as the sea.
They have a very strong digestive system that permits them to eat fungi, mollusks, bacteria, worms and even other crustaceans, such as shrimp or barnacles. In times of desperation, they have been known to eat the offal from the sea floor, which can include dead and decaying animals.. Their systems need both the protein found in meat as well as the vitamins present in undersea vegetables to sustain quality digestion.
Female cake crabs can only mate after they shed their shell, allowing access to their normally protected reproductive organs. When a female is about to molt, she releases pheromones that attract male cake crabs. After the molting, she accepts the sperm from the male and stays near him for protection until her shell can be reformed. The female then migrates to a different area and eventually allows the sperm to flow over her eggs to fertilize them. The eggs are then stored on a sponge-like structure on the female's abdomen for a period of several weeks until the larvae finally. The cake crabs only mate once, but after fertilizing the initial set of eggs, the female continues to store enough sperm on her abdomen to fertilize two or three more sets of eggs should the need arise.
area where the female cake crab might have her eggs
The cake crab has a hard outer shell to prevent damage if being eaten by a predator, The bright yellow color and poison in it's internal organs is a warning for predators not to mess with them. The cake crab will burrow in the sand if it feels like it is in danger until the threat goes away.
Plankton, Nekton, or Benthos
Benthos- they live, feed, and reproduce near and on the ocean floor. They are vagrant benthic creatures, because they move around the floor and sometimes wash up on land due to the tides.