'Max, sheds his shell'

Back in October 2001, Chris Lukhaup came to Australia and he caught Max, (Kaiser Maximillian ) in the Murray River. Max has been living happily in a tank in James Room ever since. Today, the 17th of May 2002, Max shed his shell as part of his own, personal developement. The moulting process is explained below.



Max is a Murray Crayfish, Euastacus Armatus

Max, as Chris found him in the Murray 24 Oct 02.

Max, beside his former self.

His right claw is slowly getting bigger.



Crayfish have exoskeletons, check Enrique's page here for a explanation of this fact. For a Crayfish to grow it is necessary for it to shed it's shell. This happens frequently in the juvenile period. The process is that the crayfish absorbs the calcium in it's outer shell into a unique 'organ' called a gastrolith. This in effect softens the outer shell and the crayfish breaks the old shell and escapes with the new 'limp outer shell, over the next day or two the crayfish is soft and very vulnerable to predators. The crayfish re-absorbs the calcium from the 'gastrolith' and become hard again. Enrique, our crayfish behavior expert has more information on this subject
here.