5:35 p.m. - 2007-08-22
How are you?
I had such a fun five-day weekend in Wisconsin! (I know, I know, five days off...does it make you feel better to know I'm slightly broke?)
GH turned 30 and I helped her celebrate in Madison! KZ joined us for the fabulosity. Then I joined the pre-wedding festivities in my rural hometown. Congratulations to my lovely sister and her new hubby T!
Here, a rare photo of Wendell and her lovely cousin, Big W:
The equally beautiful cousin Miss Lippy and I:
Crayfish are also known as crawfish, mudbugs, ecrevisses (in French or Creole) and acocil in Spanish. They are arthropods, the group to which 80% of the world's creatures belong. These include crustaceans like the crayfish, arachnids and insects. For example:
The study of crayfish is called astacology. These creatures live all over the world, with the southeast U.S. hosting over 330 species.
Mudbug Fun Fact: In drier climates, crawdads can dig moist tunnels up to ten feet underground!
Crayfish nooky is rather interesting. In the summer, male crawdads can either molt into a sexually inactive form, or a sexually active one. In the latter, his claws are larger and two hooks are present on his legs, which allow him to grasp his ladyfriend.
Males have specially adapted pleopods, or swimmerets, which are small walking legs under their body. These special legs deliver sperm packets to the female. She then holds them in a sperm receptacle until spring, waiting until the water reaches the correct temperature. Then she simultaneously releases her eggs AND the sperm packets, which open and fertilize the eggs. The amount of eggs ranges from 30 to 600 in number. Now the female collects the eggs and using glair, a white, sticky mucous, attaches them to her tiny swimmeret legs and to the underside of her tail.
Mama crawdad carries the eggs with her for three to six weeks, and may guard the hatchlings for several weeks. Tiny crayfish molt daily as they grow. This slows down until they reach maturity, usually the following spring after they're hatched.
Molting is very important to crayfish as it's the only way they can grow. To facilitate the process the crustacean will slow down its activity level, and start excreting calcium to an internal organ, instead of using it to build the shell. It emerges and eats the old shell, which is important to replenish its calcium supply. The new, softer exoskeleton isn't as protective as the old one and the animals are vulnerable until it hardens.
Enemies of the crawdad include humans, fish, herons, mink and otters. Crayfish are very important to Creole cooking, and are relished in Scandinavia as well. (Most of the crayfish eaten there are exported from the U.S.) Apparently these crustaceans were eaten by the ancient Aztecs too.
In our BWCA trip, the crawdads were safe from eating, but we did mess around with them a lot. I observed the critters all day, and fed them salami and cooked spaghetti noodles. But it was at night when they really got crazy!
The crawdads were so cute and interesting, guys. Some of my research has shown that people keep crayfish as pets! The only problem is that they eat fish and any living plants in your aquarium. (They can also be fed fish food and vegetables.) Hmmm, sorta makes me want to get a crawdad tank! Except for the nocturnal part.
What do you have planned for the weekend? For myself, it's the last weekend before school starts! Several important events are occurring, including THE START OF THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR TOMORROW! And my 30th Birthday on Sunday! Just think about how mature and enlightened my posts will be once I'm 30....
A flair for glair,