Thermochimica Acta, Vol.463, No.1-2, 65-68, 2007
The composition of the exoskeleton of two crustacea: The American lobster Homarus americanus and the edible crab Cancer pagurus
The exoskeletons of the American lobster Homarus americanus and of the edible crab Cancer pagurus were analysed with structural and chemical methods. The exoskeletons consist of crystalline magnesian calcite in the form of nanocrystals (domain size about 20 nm), amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP), and alpha-chitin. The composition varies among different parts of the skeleton and also between the two species. Differences are related to the mechanical requirements and biological escape behaviour of the animals. The finger and claw are strongly mineralized and very hard. The shell of the body (the carapace) is less mineralized and more elastic. The lobster, as a mobile, fast-swimming animal, typically escapes from a predator whereas the crab clings to the ground and burrows into the sand. Consequently, the shell of the lobster is less mineralized (and therefore lighter and less hard) than the shell of the crab. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords:biomineralization;calcium carbonate;Crustacea;American lobster;Homarus americanus;edible crab;Cancer pagurus