More oddities at the beach - crabs molting en masse

2 min read 1 Comment

double leaf black silver organic contemporary ring design with dead crab on beach

As mentioned here, here, and here, I thoroughly enjoyed my recent camping trip to Shi Shi beach on the Washington Coast. It’s a beautiful area I hope you all get to check out at some point.

One of the incredibly odd things that had my curiosity peaked were the crabs. At first glance, I thought the guy above was taking a nap.

dead crab on shi shi beach olympic peninsula wa

But as we continued hiking down the beach in search of the perfect camp spot I started noticing more and more of these critters belly up.

It was so weird how many crab shells were washed up on the beach. Some piles at the water line were down right disturbing (not to mention the jumping sand fleas that lived among them). But the oddest thing was how they seemed to congregate by body part on different parts of the beach.

I don’t know why the parts were in different areas (weight/tides/wind?), but after some research, it appears the massive number of shells were due to a normal process of molting. The crabs have to climb out of their shells to grow bigger. And while a few crabs die during this stressful process, the bulk of them grow and live on in their new larger shells. It’s pretty fascinating.

sterling silver scallop circle ring on thumb holding crab claw found while camping at the beach

Looking closer at the crab remnants scattered about, I was mesmerized by the detail in color, structure and pattern. I loved how the nubs in the claw mimicked the scallop shape on my circle ring - a pattern I’ve noticed in many of nature’s curiosities.

Nature is truly amazing in it’s complexities.

double leaf black silver ring on hand next to colorful crab on beach

The shell colors and baby barnacles that hitch rides on their backs were fun to examine. The purples and orange combos will likely make an appearance in a future painting or Bitty Bowl. For now, it was interesting to see how textures repeat across natural environments, like the linear nature in the crab legs and leaves that inspired this ring from my Resilient Collection.

sea star bracelet and intricate crab claw on beach - contemporary nature jewelry design

This fascinating natural molting process led to several interesting conversations and a visual oddity I will not soon forget. Their transformation is a little like that of a butterfly, reminding us that with change, good things come.

The jewelry I was wearing the weekend I spent at Shi Shi will forever remind me of the power of the sea and transformations.

Shop here for the scallop circle ring, linear leaf ring, or sea star bracelet to get your nature fix any time of the year. .

Catherine Grisez

1 Response


March 07, 2021

Beautiful story. I was looking for a good series of photo’s about the Dungeness crab molting phenomenon. Found what I was looking for. Appreciate your blending of adverts for your product and your own personal experiences. If it’s OK, I’m going to use this with my 10th grade students to show them how to intergrate personal writing with product placement when creating a small business.

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