When posting pictures of crab shells found along beaches on iNat, I am often unsure of whether to tag the species as dead, because I have a hard time distinguishing between dead specimens and molts. What can I look for when finding these shells to determine the difference?
I’m definitely not an expert, but one thing I look for are signs of trauma, like tears, scratches, etc. What I believe are molts are usually pretty intact or, if they’re not, they’ve been broken by wave action and not a predator trying to break its way in. Also, the parts of the exoskeleton covering the eyes are nice and empty.
Wow this is an excellent resource, thank you!
also not an expert, but I usually look at the eyes. if they’re transparent and look hollow, it’s probably a moult
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