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Although it has Chinese origins, the crab it is known all over the world and not only because of the recipes it can be cooked with. It is an animal whose habits and characteristics are interesting to know and we also find it the protagonist of different idioms, not only Italian. If you thought you knew this crustacean well, you will change your mind after this article.
Already I bet that few will know what this animal's scientific name is Brachyura. It is a crustacean that lives mainly in water and, beyond the family to which it belongs, is characterized by the presence of a robust carapace and two claws positioned close to the front legs. Crabs are capable of living in both salt and fresh water, they are intelligent animals and who know how to get by.
Today there are 43 super families of this crustacean, different in shape, size and habits, they live all over the world but we can consider this animal as native to China. Looking better, let's try to describe it, most of its footprint is made up of carapace which gives it a more robust appearance than ever. After all, it is its protection but it does not appear excessive or deforming, on the contrary, it integrates well with the rest of the body and thegeneral appearance of the animal is harmonious. Graceful would be a bit of an exaggeration, because there are certainly more attractive animals.
The crab "under" the carapace, semi hidden, also has vertically folded abdominals while the two anterior claws. They are his main tool both when it comes to feeding and defending himself. They are certainly not the only legs it has, it has others that are used above all for swimming and walking, even sideways. We do not underestimate their importance because they allow this not so huge animal to cover even several kilometers in just one day.
We have not yet faced thechromatic appearance, difficult because passing from one superfamily to another, and there are 43, the colors vary a lot, even taking into account that some specimens live in fresh waters, others in salty ones. We can therefore summarize the possible colors contemplating all the shades that go from purple to white.
There are different types of crabs, defined as “an infraorder of decapod crustaceans mainly aquatic ". We can say that most of the known species are nocturnal, due to the fact that in the small hours they have less chance of encountering potential predators. The numerous types of crabs that we can meet also differ due to the diet that can include both animals and plants, be even carcasses.
In turn, crabs as many of us know are also edible, in general, although in fact for those who love this food, there are species and species. There are some particularly valuable, such as the spider crab (Maja squinado), while others are more affordable and a little less exceptional in taste.
Beyond the types of crabs that exist around the world, each with its own personality, let's try to ask ourselves about the meaning that this animal has assumed in various disciplines. Let's start with heraldry where it represents the gravity of ways and thought, it is usually found in black and positioned so that the head is at the top.
In astrology almost everyone knows that it is the symbol of the zodiac sign of Cancer and even entering the linguistic sphere one encounters a rather common saying. "Catch a crab", In Italian, indicates having made a gross error. However, fewer people know that in Spanish "thinking about the immortality of the crab" means "daydreaming".
From linguistics to literature the step is short, and we find the crabs among the characters of the well-known Greek poem entitled Batrachomyomachia (The war of mice and frogs "). Their intervention is decisive because they overturn the fate of the battle by annihilating the mice and giving victory to the frogs. Perhaps some of you instead of the original version of this poem know that of ours Giacomo Leopardi in which the crabs represent the Austrians.
Before going to browse what crab eats and how we eat it, let's reveal some indiscretions about this animal with a large carapace, combative, master of camouflage and used to working in a group. And its reproduction? It produces eggs that it places under the tail, when the larvae hatch they let themselves be carried by the current and are very small: they exceed 3 mm only after 9 months. Over the years, the male specimens can weigh up to 20 kg and to have a diameter of 35-40 cm.
Crab: what it eats
As we mentioned earlier, crabs have a very varied diet which also includes carcasses, larvae and worms, as well as very normal plants. The species “more omnivorous”Are those who live in the tropics.
After seeing how the crab eats, let's see how we can eat it, being careful not to confuse its pulp with the surimi which are sticks of fish pulp (usually cod) ground dyed with food color. They differ in flavor but also in nutritional value.
We find various crab-based recipes also in Italy, as well as Portugal and Spain. If we take a trip to the Basque Country we can taste some sweet tooth pintxos (tapas) with crab meat while in Portugal this carapace is enjoyed in a typical soup called cataplana. Beyond the typical recipes of the territorial tradition, we can find crab as an ingredient for salads and soups, but also in tagliatelle alla crabmeat, a tasty and nutritious first course. If you've never tasted them, I also recommend the meatballs and canapés stuffed with crabs.
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