|Official Name||Verdmer Crab|
|Common Nicknames||Prásinos-Kélyfos Crab, Emerald Crab, Olive Crab|
|Habitat||Coastal waters of warm regions|
The Verdmer Crab is a small species of crab native to the tropical and warm waters of Corontium regions and eastern coastlines in Daen. The creature has been enjoyed for its meat and gleaming shell for many years but also has a few other notable features. Its shell becomes blighted with age, the clear gleaming greens transmuting to be splotched with patterns of whites as it continues into its mature adult life.
The Verdmer Crab was discovered not by the Altalar but the Ar'Ima, at least according to the Altalar. Original natives belong to a region in Etosil’s east, across islands that would, centuries later, hold the ancient Ailor that would form the Szabadok. In this era, however, the islands were largely barren, lacking equines of any kind, with the native Ar'Ima instead plying the ocean for their food. When the Altalar first came into contact with the species, they were gifted fine pieces crafted from the emerald patterned shells of the crustacean which was successfully hunted by the Ar'Ima. The Altalar found the species in their broader exploration of Etosil in coming decades, but also in neighboring areas reaching as far south as what are now the Ashal Islands and far north to the southern edge of the Regalian Archipelago. The Verdmer Crab ultimately went on to thrive in the coming centuries as while hunted and eaten (largely by the Fin’ullen Altalar), they spread across many bodies of water alongside the presence of other species for the Altalar to focus on, which let the animal survive long after the Arima were rendered extinct. Today, the Verdmer Crab remains widespread and healthy in population, most heavily concentrated around Etosil and The Azoras, where it is enjoyed as a local delicacy and traded to foreigners. Its shells are also sought after by those of the lower classes seeking nautical jewelry for, while beautiful, they are still the shells of animals unsuitable for being worn by knowledgeable upper class people.
Verdmer Crabs are each around two and a half inches long, and three and a half inches wide. Their carapace is generally smooth along its surface, but has a mirrored serrated edge facing forward around their eyestalks, in which two dark green pupils sit. The species stands on four pairs of short, pointed and armored segmented legs while a pair of pincers sit on either side of their body, the claws resting just below the animal’s two eyes. They are not heavily serrated, and have a gap between the movable dactylus and the unmoving pollex. Verdmer Crabs have distinct colorations, with light patterning on their carapace that shows the animal’s molting pattern. Their main coloration is always a shade of green, varying from rich, bright hues to more subdued olives, while the secondary pattern color is a beige or off-white tone. This doesn’t appear on younger members of the species, but is actually the sign of a matured member. The species’ legs are always spotted, regardless of age, with the same white or near-whites as the carapace will one day develop. The Crab’s underbelly meanwhile is a much paler shade of the dominant color on the wider shell and limbs.
Verdmer Crabs lack sexual dimorphism or even differences between different regional populations. While a range of different greens are possible, as well as patterning on the shell, these come down to seemingly random factors and age, respectively. Some have tried to see if Verdmer Crab colors mimic their surroundings, putting them in tanks filled with green plants of a certain uniform shade, but these results have often been inconclusive.
Life Span and Development
Verdmer Crabs are spawned from tens if not hundreds of thousands of tiny eggs which are released into the ocean by mothers who never see their children again. After emerging from these tiny pale specks, the Verdmer Crab enters its zoea phase where over the course of five to seven weeks, they will gradually grow in size through repeat molting. Near the end of this period, it rises to the surface near the coastline and soon enters the megalop stage, with its legs emerging to properly move it though its body remains long. This lasts for one to three weeks. They then move directly to the coastline and molts into their juvenile form, appearing as tiny copies of their parents, before gaining size through repeated molts, finally having reached its final stage of life. Verdmer Crabs live for up to between five and ten years, a broad range but one that seems affected by various factors.
Verdmer Crabs are simple creatures that are heavily focused on consuming food and moving out of danger in the various points of the ocean they occupy, be that dark depths unseen from the surface or in coral reefs and over coastal sands in brief escapades from the water they call their home. They do not attack Aloria’s Races, at most pinching when threatened by a larger creature, and overall eat a range of smaller forms of marine life, some quite small and insignificant to larger creatures.
Territory and Groupings
Verdmer Crabs lack a strong territorial instinct and will instead move about a broad region up to a square mile in size every day. However, they do have favored spots, and for females, this is especially true during the mating season. Verdmer Crabs get along fine with other members of their species, though dislike overcrowding, so they can keep close to one another but in no set, formal group.
- Verdmer as a term takes some local Ithanian terminology for the color green and the common Ithanian word for sea.
- Some scant records exist of a Fin’ullen sailor encountering a Verdmer Crab at least two feet in diameter who could speak, and commanded him to ride it into the sea. The tale ends with a question to the reader, asking what they think happened next.
- The purge of the Ar’Ima from the eastern Etosian islands is believed by some to have been the catalyst that allowed the crustaceans to spread further east, to Talamoor and the southern lands of the Regalian Archipelago.