CATERPILLARS AND CRABS...........
My Cecropia Moth caterpillars continue to grow and change colors. Now they are miniatures of what the caterpillar looks like in the books! They are thriving on leaves of Cherry which I have to provide fresh ones every day. I also have to clean out their frass.......that is the name given to caterpillar scat! Aside from caterpillars, I am starting to see more Monarch Butterflies. I need to see if any of their eggs have been laid. I sure have plenty of Milkweed to attract and sustain them, in fact it is taking over my vegetable garden!

Our outings have been fun and productive. Most exciting yesterday was while snorkeling. I thought I saw two small crabs mating, thinking they are too young for that. Later, having netted what I thought were two crabs, I realized it was one molting! It is rather rare to witness the shedding of a crab's shell, but here it was. The emerging crab swelled up and was very soft and fragile, while the shell it left behind was a perfect replica. I often tell people to test if a crab is dead or not, by trying to lift the back end of its carapace. That is where the crab emerges from its shell in the habit of growth; and if it lifts easily, it has molted.

We also found a number of large Hermit Crabs, and one gave us the treat of seeing it out of its shell! Its coiled and soft abdomen is equipped with hooks that keep it firmly inside the shell, until it needs a new one. Luckily, no other Hermit Crab took a bite out of its abdomen before it went back inside!

We continue to enjoy clamming in the mudflats. I think I was the only one to cut her finger this time, and we dug out lots of good sized clams. Some were used for bait as we fished off the Yankee dock, but unfortunately we didn't catch a fish. However, we did enjoy finding Skeleton Shrimp and Hydroids growing on the sides of the dock. One of these day, we shall come up with a flounder, and get ready for the hoots and hollers! 7/19/11 Ronnie, sweating from the heat!