Shield Crab

Avg. Height: 20cm/8 in. (varies with stance)
Avg. Weight: 9kg/19 lbs.

Habitat: beaches, rocky shores, marshes and moist forests near oceans
Diet: omnivore

Shield crabs (Harenoscutum latus) are very large decapod crustaceans native to Moorva and the surrounding islands. Their thick, rounded, roughly pentagonal carapaces give them their name: as broad as a warrior's buckler, they have, once removed and trimmed, occasionally been pressed into service as such. The animals are more closely related to slipper lobsters and hermit crabs than to true crabs, although they bear a close resemblance to the latter in terms of body plan; their tails are much reduced as adults, and are held tucked underneath the carapace. Most are a mottled purplish hue, though they range from blue-gray to nearly black.

They are land-dwelling when fully grown, though they require moist air. However, they are obliged to lay their eggs in shallow tidal pools, and their larval stage is free-swimming. They prefer shade and broken ground, with plenty of food and hiding places; while generally skittish around sentients, a few populations have grown into a minor nuisance on the outskirts of fishing towns in Moorva. Few nonsentient predators bother with them: those large enough to overcome their thick shells rarely find the meat inside worth their trouble.

They are generally solitary animals, though several may congregate for mating or at a large enough source of food. They will eat a great variety of food, but subsist mainly on fallen fruit, nuts, and rotting plant and animal matter; they have even been known to eat the droppings of other animals. They make poor hunters, but occasionally prey on smaller crabs, insects, immature birds, and sick or injured animals of all species. Some have been known to dig up clams at low tide, seeking them out by following chemical cues in the sand.

Moorva Animals of Moorva

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