Saturday picture show: Nature in action

I’ve got a bunch of video links collecting in my bloggy folder, so today is going to be a smorgasbord.

— Time lapse footage of a spider crab molting its carapace (1:42). Having seen the aftermath but never the activity before, I had to watch this video at least three times to satisfy my fascination. What a cool process! The YouTube headline says “The giant spider crab sloughed off its old skin,” but that’s inaccurate. This isn’t skin, it’s a rigid exoskeleton. And the crab doesn’t slough it off, it splits open the rear edge of the carapace and then pulls itself backwards out of the old shell. It’s what happens with the legs during this process that boggles my brain. How does the crab do that in such tight confines?

crab molt

Note for those of you who have walked a beach and found “dead” crabs on the sand: most of those weren’t dead. They were empty molts from crabs that went happily about their business in a larger form.

— An unidentified eagle (which I think is a golden eagle but am not sure) is filmed capturing a young mountain goat (2:54). Do not watch this if the sight of animal predation makes you queasy, because it pulls no punches. But it’s an eye-widening example of efficient predation techniques. My question while watching it is, do the eagles learn this technique from watching their parents? Or is it something they pick up by accident, the first time they drop a heavy prey item?

— Weedy sea dragons in a graceful courtship dance (3:36). Narrated by the inimitable David Attenborough, this is simply beautiful. And then comes the hatching of the eggs…

— Finally, for those of you shivering in winter cold, a glimpse of what awaits in the spring (5:27), at a level most of us never look. We see the flowers and young plants, but do we see the insects that depend on them? Nice macro photography with a serene soundtrack, filmed in the photographer’s yard in Vienna.

Happy weekend.


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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6 Responses to Saturday picture show: Nature in action

  1. Ana_ñ says:

    2) It is a Spanish imperial eagle (‘águila imperial ibérica’, ‘Aquila adalberti’ It has been many years since I last saw these impressive sequences. They belong to an episode of “The Iberian Fauna”, part of a TV documentary series called “The Man and the Earth” (1974-1980), by Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente ( He was a pioneer whose programs opened Spanish minds to nature conservation and ecology; we are indebted to them.

    What a nature show, Thank you!

  2. chase cameron says:

    all great, but even I went “Jesus!” when the goat dropped and hit the ground way below. That was, to speak profoundly, one big ass eagle. I had no idea they were THAT big!
    The crab thing? Watched it several times and the nature one, last one, was gorgeous.

  3. Alma says:

    What a beautiful sea dragon! I have it on my desktop now.

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