MEET THE MANLA

Animal Scene - - PALAWAN ENCOUNTERS -

There are some months in the year when, aside from the ku­day, al­i­mango, tagoykoy, and ghost crabs, an­other creepy crawler is in great abun­dance: the Manla. Sorry to say, I don’t know the English name for this crea­ture, so I would ap­pre­ci­ate it if any reader can tell me what it is. I am sure that they are al­ways out there in the muddy man­grove swamp the whole year round. How­ever, you can­not har­vest them dur­ing some months be­cause you have to spot the bur­row first. If it is al­ways rain­ing, or if there is much tide move­ment in the swamp, the bur­row of the Manla will be very hard to spot. Thus Manla hunt­ing can only com­mence when the wa­ter re­cedes due to low tide or the dry sea­son. The bur­row is ac­tu­ally cov­ered by the ex­ca­va­tion quarry of the Manla. Since it lives in the mud, the Manla has to push mud out of its bur­row ev­ery­day. Thus, on top of the bur­row is the newly pushed mud that looks ex­actly like a heap of carabao or cat­tle dung. So is to look for that heap. Af­ter spot­ting the big­gest heap (and mak­ing sure it’s not an ac­tual dung heap since there are a lot of carabaos around here), gen­tly and cleanly re­move the heap from the muddy ground with a shovel or a bolo. With the heap out of the way, you can now see the Manla bur­row, which is a lit­tle smaller than a Tagoykoy bur­row and roughly the size of a golf ball. Us­ing the shovel or bolo, care­fully dig out the mud while keep­ing track of the di­rec­tion of the bur­row. The bur­row will usu­ally be about a meter in depth, ei­ther go­ing down or go­ing some­what side­ways. the Manla out of the hole, rather than dig­ging them out. Nat­u­rally, I am op­posed to this method as I am sim­i­larly op­posed to catch­ing gi­ant river shrimp us­ing elec­tric­ity (a story I hope to tackle in a fu­ture is­sue of An­i­mal Scene). With the Manla out of the hole, you will no­tice that it is a very cu­ri­ous crea­ture in­deed. It looks like a That is why sea­side set­tlers do not bother much with the Manla un­less they are re­ally big. Oth­er­wise, there isn’t much meat to have. Maybe this is also the rea­son why Manla has not be­come a pop­u­lar quarry even with the ear­lier set­tlers, who are ba­si­cally farmer-hun­ters who like to hunt for bush meat and de­li­cious seafood. But then again, when you have a kilo or two of Manla, they make a re­ally fra­grant soup or a de­li­cious but­tered crus­tacean dish. An­other dif­fer­ence the Manla has from the ! Euro­pean lob­ster is the shape of the pin­cers. While those of lob­sters "and mus­cu­lar, and thus have a lot of meat in them, the pin­cers of the Manla are odd­shaped and adapted for dig­ging. In fact, the shape of the pin­cers of the Manla are odd and awk­ward, so they can­not make a clean pinch or hold of ob­jects, while the pin­cers of other crabs are much more bal­anced, so the up­per and lower part can ei­ther have ser­ra­tions each other or at least have coun­ter­parts on the other side that pro­vides that crea­ture with a stronger hold on ob­jects. The pin­cers of the # in a ver­ti­cal man­ner. I sur­mise that this is nec­es­sary for them to shovel mud out of the bur­row. Don’t get me wrong, though; their pin­cers are very strong and can some­times pry "Such was my ex­pe­ri­ence when I was about 7 years old. I caught a big Manla, but it was able to "and es­cape into a pile of rocks.

Manla pin­cer

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