An Alien in My House
I had to share one of the most strange things I have learned about in a while. I need to start my story with my brother and his son. This little duo has hunted and fished for just about everything under the sun. When one looks in the dictionary, I would assume the name Thomas must be part of the definition for the word outdoors. Really… This story starts about two summers ago after my brother and his son made a usual trip to a local lake here in New Mexico. I happened to be visiting my sister when these two returned from the trip. My nephew jumped out of the car and was so excited to share the creatures he had in a small plastic container with his cousin (my son Daryn). The container was filled with crawfish. Yes my brother would definitely eat those, but these were intended as pets. Daryn immediately scooped up his very own and we rushed it home. I have been feeding the crawfish small freeze dried shrimp and he has been content with that. He has a sweet home where there is always plenty to eat. Apparently the strange creature likes it here because he is still alive. Last time my brother came over, he was surprised that we still had the little guy. So here is where my story starts. Now on to the rest.
One night after being up very late writing, I made a trip to the kitchen for some water before bed. We have one beta and the crawfish in separate tanks on the kitchen counter. I filled my glass with water and then took a peek into the tanks to see what the fish were up to. I noticed that the crawfish wasn’t moving? Hum? I shook the tank around and looked again. I took a closer look. After a few minutes, I confirmed that the crawfish was not moving. I started to get really sad and have to admit that I grow very close to animals- even the ones that I can’t cuddle. With a tear in my eye, I unscrewed the lid to the tank and started to pour the water down the drain. I planed on taking the small crawfish into the night for a quick burial. Watching the water trickle down the drain I was distracted by the sound. I looked back when I realized that I had been distracted to be sure I had not poured the dead crawfish out. I scanned the round tank. Right at that moment, the crawfish jumped at the glass and scared the hell outta me. What the? But- but- but— there were two? I was completely confused. How could this happen? After taking out the limp body for a closer exam, I figured it was a dead crawfish. The fish was completely intact, but had no eyes?? I put everything down because at this point I was completely freaked by the alien in my house. After a few minutes of feeling kinda scared, I mustered up the courage to go back and check it out. Grabbing a baggie from the cabinet, I got the body and threw it in the fridge. The next day I called my mom and told her what had happened. By this time we had discovered YouTube videos that educated us. It is so strange? These aliens shed their entire exoskeleton so that they can grow. It is funny how we can learn something new everyday. I did decide to look up more information about crawfish after this happened and this is what I found.
These creatures go by several names like- crawfish, crayfish, lobsters, mudbugs, yabbies, and crawdads. In 2001, Michael B. Sloane, an Aquaculturist with the College of Agriculture at New Mexico State University did some studies on the “warmwater species” crawfish “in New Mexico Aquaculture.” Sloane published a paper which says that “crayfish, or crawdads, are found throughout New Mexico in irrigation ditches, rivers, and ponds.” Alicia Fitzgerald compiled information on the crawdad in 2006 for Pennsylvania State University. Fitzgerald’s research stated that “crayfish (with special reference to genus Cambarus) are extremely distinctive freshwater crustaceans. Their large anterior-most pairs of legs have powerful claws which are efficient tools for defense, food gathering, and object manipulation. Their four pairs of walking legs assist them in rapid locomotion across the bottom substrates of their aquatic habitats. Surprisingly, they are not really capable of swimming although they can use powerful thrusts of their tails to rapidly propel themselves (backwards) through the water.” It was here where I discovered the term moulting. This research says that “crayfish, like all arthropods, have an encasing exoskeleton made out of the structural polysaccharide chitin. For a crayfish to grow, it must shed its exoskeleton and then re-grow a new and larger one.”
It is amazing what I witnessed in my kitchen that night. I would have never known that for over a year, I have shared a home with a local alien unless he shed his skin! Now that’s some freaky stuff!! See for yourself. Below there are two YouTube videos. The first is titled “Crayfish in Blue Hole New Mexico,” and the second is titled “Blue Crayfish Moulting.” I hope you can sleep after that! Creepy!!!!! Haha…
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