An optically transparent crab-shell with an intact original shape and substantial morphological detail is presented. Inorganic calcium carbonate particles, proteins, lipids and pigments are removed from a native crab-shell, and the remaining chitin nanofibrous structure is impregnated by a monomer and polymerized. The nanostructural implications for man-made nanocomposites are discussed. An important application of the finding is demonstrated as heterogeneous micro-scale crab shell chitin particles are successfully used to process transparent nanocomposites. The incorporation of nanostructured chitin macro-particles not only retains transparency of the matrix resin but also drastically reduces the coefficient of thermal expansion of the polymer. Moreover, the optical transmittance of the composite is stable over a large range of temperatures despite significant inhomogeneity at the mm scale and the large temperature changes in the refractive index of the resin in its isolated state. This class of materials is an interesting candidate for transparent substrates in next-generation electronic devices such as flexible displays and solar cells.