Crabs truly are an enigma of the evolutionary tree.
Amongst the sealife that adapted to the Boiling Depths, one of them is the Boiler Crab. A hefty creature built to endure intense pressures and unbearable heat, thriving in the oceanic trench.
Relatively small for its posture, the crustacean is distinguishable by its low profile, hefty size and large claws. An average adult can have their pinchers reach up to a third of their body's size, making them both powerful and meaty in nature.
The shell itself integrates elements of iron and other metals coating the exterior. From it it gains a rust orange and metallic silver look. Multiple small holes riddle the backside of the crab, each able to close up. They use this to regulate their body temperature.
Ecology and Habitats
Boiler Crabs live near hydrothermal vents to feed off the sealife living there. When not actively hunting for food, it likes to bury itself on the ocean floor to hide for larger predators.
Few specimens live near the surface, making their appearance scarce. Most end up dying when fished up from their depths due to the pressure differences.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Boiler Crabs are not known to be picky eaters. Most thrive of the diverse ecosystems that live on the ocean floor, scavenging anything their pinchers can grab. Everything from seasponges to small fish, shrimps to even fellow crabs.
Like many crabs, the Boiler Crabs molts its shell several times throughout its lifespan. Due to the rich metal nature of its shell, it needs to do so in a more destructive manner.
To do so, it will trap cold water within its shell, only to heat it up near hydrothermal vents. The steam produced within forces it to crack, allowing the crustacean to squeeze out. The steam also allows it to scare off any larger predators while molting.
The few days after has it hide itself from predators to harden its shell.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Some aquatic races like Tritons and Merfolk utilise the shells of Boiler Crabs as heat-resistant material. Everything from plates to shields and tools are made using the crustacean.
Others simply eat it straight out the shell. While hard to cook, letting it slowly boil inside its own shell is the best way to prepare one.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Most species of Boiler Crabs can be found living at the Boiling Depths. Although some specimens do exist at other places with hydrothermal vents.