Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

From 2012

with 30 comments

Crawfish Claw on Dry Algae 3666A

Click for greater size and clarity.

On April 30, 2012, I wandered in the relatively wild southern part of Great Hills Park and came across a tangle of dried algae in the bed of the main creek there. Lying on the algae was the tiny disembodied claw of what I take to have been a crawfish. Strange and a bit creepy, don’t you think?

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 7, 2015 at 4:32 AM

30 Responses

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  1. My first thought was, “Somebody had a nice lunch.” In my salt water world, there’s rarely a morning that I don’t find crab claws lying about after the night herons’ fine dining. So many birds eat crawfish (as do other animals) that this seems natural rather than creepy: except for the crawfish, perhaps.


    June 7, 2015 at 6:57 AM

    • When I was out photographing along Bull Creek a few days ago I came across a crawfish near the base of some plants. When I bent down to try to take a picture, the critter scuttled away faster than I had any idea a crawfish could move. At least some of the time birds succeed where photographers don’t.

      I didn’t realize that unattached crab claws are as common as your say along the coast (outside of restaurants and supermarkets, that is). The disembodies crawfish claw shown here is the only one I’ve ever seen, and that uniqueness contributes to my sense of creepiness.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2015 at 7:09 AM

  2. I wish we could attach photos in the comments. I was fortunate enough to capture a Yellow Crowned Night Heron snarfing down some kind of crustacean under the I-35 bridge over Brushy Creek. It was very exciting (and surely reveals more about me than I should actually disclose in public 🙂 ).


    June 7, 2015 at 8:15 AM

  3. Yes!!

    Sammy D.

    June 7, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    • I don’t know what aspect of this picture you’re affirming, but I’m glad for your affirmation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2015 at 9:35 AM

      • The strange and a bit creepy part 😀. It looks like a ginormous crawdaddy !!

        Sammy D.

        June 7, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        • There’s no sense of scale here, so your imagination is free to roam into the world of the ginormous. (The reality is that the claw was tiny and I got in close with my macro lens. Sorry if that’s a comedown.)

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 7, 2015 at 12:39 PM

  4. I see disembodied crawfish parts pretty often in the field. At first it struck me as creepy but I guess I’ve gotten used to it. Human bodies, not so much. I’ve been lucky, but they do turn up.


    June 7, 2015 at 9:06 AM

    • Maybe I just haven’t been observant and there are more crawfish parts out there than I realize. I wander in plenty of out-of-the-way places, and so far I’ve never encountered a dead human body, but I’ve thought about it and imagined the 911 call I’d have to make.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2015 at 9:38 AM

      • It wouldn’t be a fun call, that is for sure. Hopefully it will never be necessary for either of us.


        June 8, 2015 at 8:58 AM

        • Let’s hope not. To say that there are many more-pleasant things out there is an understatment.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 8, 2015 at 9:17 AM

  5. Fascinating contrast in textures and colors. Not quite as creepy as it might be, as I believe young crustaceans like the previous owner of this can regenerate new ones–if they live long enough.


    June 7, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    • It was the texture of the dried algae strands that first drew my attention and that’s when I noticed the disembodied claw. As you say, it created a nice contrast in texture and color. Your caveat about living long enough is well taken: it’s rough out there in nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2015 at 12:35 PM

  6. “Strange and a bit creepy” is how I would have described it too! At the same time it is very interesting though, Steve. After looking at it for a while, the algae reminds me of a bed of fine pasta. Fine food photography, Steve – crawfish and pasta? 🙂


    June 7, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    • It’s good to hear you share the strangeness and creepiness. The dried algae reminds me not so much of pasta as of so-called cellophane or glass noodles, i.e. mung bean noodles,


      which my wife, who is from the Philippines, cooks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2015 at 9:24 PM

      • They are popular to eat here and I was actually thinking of them when I wrote my reply but wasn’t sure you’d be familiar with them so compromised by writing fine pasta. Obviously you are though! I can imagine your wife cooks great meals. We have quite a few people living in our area from the Philippines here so I am familiar with their cooking and my best friend from uni married a man from that country. I don’t think he cooks for her though. 😉


        June 8, 2015 at 2:11 AM

        • As is probably the case there too, here it’s much more common for a man of European heritage to be married to a Philippine woman than vice versa. Along with coconuts and other fruits, a main export of the Philippines is brides; must have something to do with the cooking.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 8, 2015 at 4:33 AM

          • Yes, it is more common for Australian men to marry ladies from the Philippines than the other way around. My friend was working in a mission in the country for her church when she met her husband. I think he serenaded her – he’s a musician! I’m sure the women have many attractive qualities besides the cooking. 😉 I’ve found the culture to be very friendly, welcoming and family oriented.


            June 8, 2015 at 4:51 AM

  7. Interesting. Are you that far from the coast?

    Raewyn's Photos

    June 8, 2015 at 4:06 AM

    • Austin is about 300 km from the coast, farther than any place in New Zealand is. I was going to explain that the crawfish (also called crayfish) we have in Austin are small crustaceans that live in freshwater streams, but I just found out you have at least one native genus there:


      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2015 at 4:40 AM

      • Ah. I automatically thought of crayfish – which is very popular, and very expensive here

        Raewyn's Photos

        June 8, 2015 at 4:42 AM

  8. Also from 2012 http://www.dailytexanonline.com/life-and-arts/2012/04/09/austin-has-variety-of-places-to-enjoy-crawfish-season Did one of this pile get away? Or is there one in this pile minus a limb?


    June 8, 2015 at 5:29 AM

    • It was good of you to track down that article from the newspaper of the University of Texas, and you raised a good question. I don’t know where stores and restaurants get their crawfish, but I don’t think our neighborhood creeks in Austin would provide enough. It would be a lucky crawfish indeed that made it out of a dinner-bound pile like the one in the article and back into a local creek—with or without a full complement of limbs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2015 at 5:46 AM

  9. […] On July 24th I stopped at the northeast corner of E. Howard Ln. and The Lakes Blvd. to see what I could do photographically with the tall column of water in a fountain there. When I got near the pond from which the water shot up, I noticed a little object on the ground. At eye height I couldn’t tell what it was, so I bent down for a better look. It turned out to be the claw of a crawfish (or crayfish, or crawdad, as you prefer), and an interesting little thing it was. To take some pictures, I held the claw in the tips of a couple of fingers on my left hand and wielded the camera with my right. Because the two sides of the claw were so different, I’ve shown you both views. An alligator, anyone? I should add that this was hardly the first time I’d found and photographed a disembodied crawfish claw; the last time I showed you one was in 2015. […]

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