KUNAMOKST - West Coast Mural Mosaic

Geri Peterson


Northwest Arthropods

Panel before
Artist Comments: I chose the prolific crabs that populate the Puget Sound as the subject for my panel. When I finished the panel I was reminded of the tiny creatures I once saw through my brother’s powerful microscope while visiting him at King’s College in Edmonton. He had collected the speck of dirt locally and had his students looking at soil organisms and identifying what they saw. Turns out those little crablike creatures are actually arthropods like crabs. They share the feature of having an exoskeleton and their legs and mouthparts are essentially tubes connected by flexible joints. This basic body plan has proven to be very successful and you find arthropods everywhere. They are abundant in the sea, on land, and in freshwater. My doctor brother tells me these animals are very common in our soils, especially on the West Coast.
The four-inch crabs I painted would be about 1000 times larger than the microscopic Oribatidae I saw. They do spend their lives recycling. Just as their much larger, distant relatives do.