MEET THE MANLA
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.