Here’s a creature concept I discovered while browsing the DeviantART profile of Canadian artist Robert Powell (rpowell77).
This slow-moving crab-like creature spends most of it’s adult life in the trees. It uses it’s large claw to stablize itself while it uses its legs to navigate itself through the branches. It feeds primarily on plants and lichens, but may gorge itself on bird egg and the occasional bird if it can catch one.
It’s body is full of sharp spines and irritating fur-like bristles. For additional defense it uses a sharp barb at the end of it’s tail, that secretes a chemical that will cause hallucinogenic deluisions. Some tribes will extract the poison from the crab to use for ceremonial rituals and more often recreation. This could also coincide with the crab’s bizarre appearance making it seem even more horrific when the individual is under the influence.
This critter beautifully illustrates that a hooked claw is just as useful a tree-climbing appendage as a primate hand or prehensile tale. In fact, it may be even more efficient as no muscles are required for this creature to grasp a branch. Does this justify the humanoid critters we see in science fiction with clawed hands and even exoskeletons? Is it possible for an arthropod to develop along similar anatomical lines as us, with ape-like arboreal ancestors?
Artwork by Robert Powell.