Image from page 526 of "Sketches of the natural history of Ceylon : with narratives and anecdotes illustrative of the habits and instincts of the mammalia, birds, reptiles, fishes, insects, &c. : including a monograph of the elephant and a description of
Title: Sketches of the natural history of Ceylon : with narratives and anecdotes illustrative of the habits and instincts of the mammalia, birds, reptiles, fishes, insects, &c. : including a monograph of the elephant and a description of the modes of capturing and training it with engravings from original drawings
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Crustacea ofthe island is at present a desideratum; and with theexception of the few commoner species that frequentthe shores, or are offered in the markets, we are literallywithout information, excepting the little that can begleaned from already published systematic works. In the bazaars several species of edible crabs are ex-posed for sale; and amongst the deKcacies at the tablesof Europeans, curries made from prawns and lobsters arethe triumphs of the Ceylon cuisine. Of these latterthe fishermen sometimes exhibit specimens ^ of extra-ordinary dimensions and ofa beautiful purple hue,variegated with white.Along the level shore northand south of Colombo, andin no less profusion else- CALLING CKAB OF CEYLON, i ,■, • ii ti,i where, the nimble littleCalling Crabs ^ scamper over the moist sands, carryingaloft the enormous hand (sometimes larger than the Jidics carnifex, Fab. ^ Gelasimus tetragonon ? Edw.; - Palmicrus ornatus, Fab. G. annuUpes ? Edw.; G. Dussu- P—n, s. mieri ? Edw.
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478 ARTICULATA. [Chap. XIII. rest of the body), which is their peculiar characteristic,and which, from its beckoning gesture has suggestedtheir popular name. They hurry to conceal themselvesin the deep retreats which they hollow out in the banksthat border the sea. Sand Grabs.—In the same localities, or a little fartherinland, the Ocypode ^ burrows in the dry soil, makingdeep excavations, bringing up literally armfulls of sand;which with a spring in the air, and employing its otherlimbs, it jerks far from its burrows, distributing it ina circle to the distance of several feet.^ So inconve-nient are the operations of these industrious pests thatmen are kept regularly employed at Colombo in fillingup the holes formed by them on the surface of theGralle face. This, the only equestrian promenade of thecapital, is so infested by these active little creaturesthat accidents often occur through horses stumbling intheir troublesome excavations. Painted Crabs.—On the reef of rocks which lie
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