"Waiter, I'll have the fish."
June 21, 2008 10:47 AM   Subscribe

What is this thing in the video? Cool looking but I have no idea what it is. Video is of a fish-like thing. I think it wants to eat my brain.
posted by zerobyproxy to Science & Nature (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I believe it's a baby/young horseshoe crab.
posted by yeoja at 10:56 AM on June 21, 2008

I doubt it's a horsehoe crab; the description in the video yeoja linked to says the critter was 5 feet long (yikes!) and in fresh water.

The biggest horsehoe crab I've ever seen was maybe 2 feet long including the tail, and definitely NOT all flexible and gilly and "Alien"-esque like that.

Whatever it is, it looks freaky as hell. My bet is it that it's some species of freshwater ray.
posted by dolface at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2008

O_o Ugh. I hope it's a hoaxus Rusiannii.
posted by workerant at 11:21 AM on June 21, 2008

OK, after a little more digging I'm going with a tadpole shrimp as my vote.

Given that there is nothing to give scale in the video, I'm discounting the claimed size.
posted by dolface at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2008

I vote tadpole shrimp also. They are also called triops, do a google search. You can grow your own!, They are similar to sea monkeys in that the eggs can live in dry sand/soil for years and then hatch when the rain arrives.
posted by phyle at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2008

I don't think it is a skate or a ray, they don't have legs like that critter. I think I saw a stick in there--too big for a tadpole shrimp. I think it is a horseshoe crab. Seems to have 5 pairs of legs which would be right.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2008

Check out the comments. Someone mentioned that is might be a frilled shark.
posted by bprater at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2008

It is absolutely NOT 3 feet long. Yes, there is nothing in the video to determine scale of the creature, but it was flipped over and pushed about with ease. I would guess that it is more like 5 inches long.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 12:15 PM on June 21, 2008

Ironmouth - The reason I dont think it is an infant horseshoe crab is because horseshoe crabs have a jointed, rigid tail. Their tail is a long thin spike that cannot bend like the one in the video. As Boyobies pointed out scale is hard to determine, I would guess even shorter than 5 inches.
posted by phyle at 1:00 PM on June 21, 2008

It's not a tadpole shrimp or horse shoe crab and pretty unlikely to be a frilled shark since they are a deep-sea species. Plus it doesn't in any way resemble one. It's hard to tell what it does look like from this bad video, it looks like a vertebrate but that's about it. Are those things on the underside gills or legs? Does it have eyes? a mouth teeth? If you can get better photos or video you will get a lot better answers.

fwiw, It says in the description that they have been reported up to 3 feet long but this one isn't.
posted by fshgrl at 5:28 PM on June 21, 2008

OK, I watched it on the good monitor and I take back the vertebrate comment. It's probably a Triops but it looks too big. Most are less than an inch, afaik. Maybe they grow em bigger in Russia.
posted by fshgrl at 5:33 PM on June 21, 2008

Ditto on the horseshoe crab. It probably just molted.

"The old, hard shell cannot expand and splits in the front where the top and bottom join. The horseshoe crab crawls out the front, leaving the old shell behind. It takes about 24 hours for the new soft shell to harden."
posted by eye of newt at 10:22 AM on June 22, 2008

Like others before me, I changed my mind. If you look at the grain pattern of the wood underneath the thing, it is definitely tiny. (5 feet? More like 5 inches).

Triop/Tadpole Shrimp.

I may send for one of those Triop kits!
posted by eye of newt at 11:00 AM on June 22, 2008

It is emphatically NOT a horseshoe crab. I wrote my Ph.D. disseration on horseshoe crabs, and I can assure that it is not a horseshoe crab despite the two best answers for horseshoe crab.

I agree with the people saying it is a Triops - it seems to be a Triops cancriformis, which fits the description of where it was found. They can grow to be 11cm (4.3 in) in length.
posted by nekton at 1:03 PM on July 21, 2008

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