FSC Crabs AIDGAP covers all of the crabs of British coastal waters.
Designed for living specimens in the field, the guide includes hermit and porcelain ‘crabs’, as well as ‘true’ crabs. The key will enable anybody to identify all the ‘crabs’ of British sea shores, including while skin-diving or dredging close inshore. There is no need to kill the animal, or to extract it from its shell (if a hermit crab) to find out what it is. The authors have taken care to use non-technical language throughout. Unavoidable technical terms are illustrated in the explanatory figures. Identification characters are visible to the naked eye, although a x10 hand lens is useful with very small specimens.
This crabs guide is part of the FSC’s AIDGAP series (Aids to Identification in Difficult Groups of Animals and Plants). The aim of AIDGAP series is to produce accessible keys suitable for non-specialists from age 16+. Although written by specialists, all AIDGAP guides go through field tests in draft form. As with all guides in the series, the Crabs AIDGAP underwent extensive testing before publication, by beginners and specialists alike. The author has revised the key in the light of the testers’ experience.
Accurate identification of specimens is an important part of biological fieldwork. Although popular groups such as wild flowers and butterflies are well-served, many other groups are neglected. Since 1976, the AIDGAP project has published over 40 straightforward and clearly written identification keys to many different groups of plants, animals and other taxa. In many cases a newly published AIDGAP guide has led to an immediate upsurge in the number and spread of biological records.