Hadar Island Crab
|Hadar Island Crab|
|Official Name||Hadar Island Crab|
|Common Nicknames||Varnin Crab, Pelang Crab|
|Habitat||Islands of Hadar|
The Hadar Island Crab is a diverse species of freshwater, land-favoring crab native to the tropical islands of Hadar. First silently observed by the Slizzar in their long history with the region, the arrival of the Allar saw several species reduced in number or undergo population shifts. The Chrysant War devastated these populations further, and while they are rapidly recovering, continued regional tensions will likely see the crustaceans take another hit. Their most common visual trait are its sunken eyes, matched with a diverse range of colored carapaces alongside narrow, tight-pinching claws as well as a territorial streak.
Hadar Island Crabs first came to the attention of one of Aloria’s Races likely around 2000 BC, when Slizzar encounters with them were sparsely recorded in what information exists within their capital city. Overall, the Slizzar did not engage with the species much, as their diets saw them avoid the fierce little creature, while their territorial expanse kept them centralized without long-standing expansion across Hadar. It was instead the Allar who first met the crustaceans in large numbers when their refugee fleet landed and began to form the settlements that would go on to found the Chrysant Kingdoms. Among those Allar who ate meat, the Island Crabs soon proved a delicacy and were extensively devoured. Yet the species persisted, and even thrived in some areas as Allar waterworks gave the freshwater-focused animals new dwelling places, naturally integrating into the architecture of Allar cities. The Chrysant War was by far the most harrowing time for the species, however. In addition to the general destruction of their habitats by Regalian cannon fire and warfare roving over their nesting grounds, Regalian troops took a liking to the animal’s meat. Many were consumed and killed as a delicacy even the common Regalian soldier was able to enjoy. Luckily for the ecosystem of Hadar, this species has shown great competence in recovering to its prior population, reaching pre-war levels at the start of 310 AC, in spite of the chaos brought by the Sendrassian War. Their resilience should hearten any Allar who knows this statistic, for if such a small creature can thrive despite the hardships, others can too.
Hadar Island Crabs vary in size depending on their subspecies, but generally range from two feet wide and long to three feet wide, and two and a half feet long. Their carapace is notable for having an undulating pattern around its edge, though it is otherwise smooth and similar to those of other crabs. Their head has sunken black eyes, lacking stalks, which sit facing forward above a broad mouth of various moving mouth parts. Their body is supported on four pairs of short, segmented legs, each covered in protective chitin and finishing in a pointed end. Their claws are smaller than other species and have a slight curve to them, but fully close with a heavy level of serration between the two parts. Their carapace has a variety of body colorations based on where they are located.
Hadar Island Crabs have an array of visual traits which mark out a range of subspecies to the animal. They lack sexual dimorphism, as size is more of an indicator of maturity than gender.
- Alvaan Crab: Native to many of the islands in the Alvaan Kingdom, the Alvaan Crab has an average size, with a turquoise-green fade along the top of its carapace and a pale green underside.
- Razzra Crab: The Razzra Crab is a subspecies within a subspecies, native to the region around the Razzra Cliffs on the island of Alvazra, part of the Alvaan Kingdom. Considering the region’s rich crimson hue, the Razzra Crab might be expected to have a red coloration, but as it is an offshoot of the Alvaan Crab, it instead has a series of wavy red stripes down its verdant carapace. It is also larger than the Alvaan Crab.
- Minoor Crab: Oddly enough, the Minoor Crab has the same shades to its carapace as the hair of the Minoor Altalar, leading some to wonder if a common regional factor might be coloring elements of regional life forms. However, the Crab is also notable for its pale cream underside, as well as white lines along its legs, and along the waved edge of their carapace shell.
- Eastcoated Crab: The Eastcoated Crab is found across the eastern regions of Hadar and is one of the smallest subspecies. It is colored a rich blue hue, and has even been known to have small silver sparkles in this shell. Its underside is a standard paler hue than its regular carapace.
- Mozz Crab: Long influenced by latent Void powers which have stirred in the Mozz-zztaazh Archipelago to Hadar’s south, the Mozz Crab has taken visual traits leaning in that direction as a result. The front of their carapace is not smooth, instead having several small bumps, perhaps the beginning of horns, while their eyes are a dark red rather than black. Their body armor is black with lines of red along the legs and claws.
- Graycoated Crab: The Graycoated Crab is native to the western lands of Hadar. It has a range of gray colorations along its body, with a pale gray underbelly. It uses these traits as active camouflage in riverbeds and the rocky, less arable terrain that makes up portions of western Hadar.
Life Span and Development
Hadar Island Crabs are different from other species in their life development, displaying direct development. They are hatched in numbers of a few hundred and at sizes larger than normal, with a pale orange coloration streaked by a secondary color marker to indicate their subspecies. They develop from their zoea phase to their juvenile phase within the egg over the course of a month to a month and a half before emerging as small crabs mimicking the appearance of adults. They emerge from the water that hatched them, and begin their life, growing into adulthood over the course of several months through repeated molts and eating. Hadar Island Crabs can live up to six years both in the wild and in captivity, but they are not domesticated.
Unlike other species of crustacean which are limited in how they express themselves, Hadar Island Crabs are more notable in their activities. It may also be that, unlike sea crabs, they have had more observation and time watching them, as the water masks the activities of those crustaceans local to the deep waters. Hadar Island Crabs are known for their groups, known as huddles, which form around notable sources of freshwater, and see parents protect their offspring while they are in their eggs. They have been known to band together to attack interlopers to these areas, but they often give warnings first, foaming at the mouth and repeatedly snapping their pincers at a threat. The animal is omnivorous, eating smaller water-born creatures along with smaller local insects and some species of local plant, and are also nocturnal, their hunting and activity primarily happening at night.
Territory and Groupings
Hadar Island Crabs cohabit in clusters as large as 300 scattered across the many tropical islands of Hadar. As land-based crabs, they largely remain in the foliage and undergrowth. The cluster, while it may spread out, will rapidly converge on their birthing area during the mating season to first mate, and then protect the eggs laid in this source of freshwater.
- There was once another species of Hadar Island Crab, uniquely native to the Slizzar capital and its coral atolls, with a peculiar pale yellow coloration, but they went extinct shortly before the Cataclysm for an unknown reason.
- Hadar Island Crabs are rumored to be as old as the Meraic themselves, as Maraya cuisine has an entire range of dishes focused on crab derived from remnants in the Tohn Sona.