Recent internet accounts of carcinization have Blacktip Island residents concerned friends and neighbors might rapidly morph into crabs. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/BTT staff)
Recent news stories regarding carcinization—the convergent evolution of some species into crab-like forms—have Blacktip Island residents on edge this week, worried friends and neighbors might become crabs.
“Started with a special on one of those science channels, then it popped up all over the internet,” Linford Blenny said. “That’s when folks started noticing. Everything in nature eventually turns into a crab. It’s an evolutionary advantage. It’s happened in at least five different waves. That we know about.
“Thing is, what happens when people around you turn?” Blenny said. “Could be anyone, anywhere. Some Blacktippers already have a crabby look about them. Already changing. What’s that mean for the rest of us? Am I gonna turn into a crab? These’re scary times.”
Some residents weren’t surprised by the news.
“Happens here all the time, you just don’t hear about it,” Leigh Shore said. “Starts with fingertips and toes and spreads out. Crabs run the island, y’know. Land crabs take care of things topside, clinging channel crabs rule underwater. It’s spooky, but a good thing long term. Keeps the island clean. And you see those red crabs on the road, you know a hurricane’s coming. Antonio Fletcher? He’s a crab.”
Fletcher confirmed the claim.
“It’s true. Been a crab for years now,” he said. “Got to have a hard shell to survive on this island. Insults bounce right off me, and I can hunker down in any strong wind. Always know when a big storm’s coming, too. I give folks the warnings, use my evolutionary advantage for good.”
Others refuted the idea.
“Carcinization involves certain decapod crustaceans evolving into crabs, not people turning into crabs,” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine science professor Goby Graysby said. “If ‘Tonio’s a crab, why does he not look like one? And how can he talk? He’s quite plainly a person. A crazy person, but a person.”
Fletcher stood by his assertion.
“Those who have eyes can see,” he said. “Can’t argue with people who don’t want to hear the truth. Goby’s got a right to his opinion. I got a right to be a crab. And I’m not telling him who the other crab people are. Won’t let him mock them like he does me.
“And if people can’t become crabs, what about Harry Bottoms?” Fletcher said. “He turned all flat and hard-shell and crawled into the booby pond last year. You can see him when the water gets low in the dry season, scuttling around out there like the king of the pond.”