Friday, April 1, 2011

Ghost Crabs Made Me Laugh

These guys, which I had not seen in person until early this morning, are a hoot. They are the color of sand so, unless you get very close, they are difficult to see. Not small--the size of my hand maybe--they scurry along the sand at jet-propelled speeds--sideways never losing sight of me with their periscopic eyes.

Now I know that the little holes in the beach are not from children digging with sticks. They are the homes of these silly crustaceans. A strong storm blew across Florida last night and must have swamped the burrows because at 7 this morning they were all digging their ways out. Many of them could not resist the temptation to munch on whatever food blew up on shore along with starfish, seashells, seaweed and stones. They are very wary and most of them had returned to their freshly refurbished burrows by the time I retraced my steps back to the road. Many more beach walkers by then. What had puzzled me was how these guys ever made it in and out of their burrows. They weren't more than 2" across and the crabs are at least 4".

They go sideways! I love it.


Wood Eye said...

This is so wonderful, I happen to come across your blog after returning home from a beach at Boca Grande and having some kids on the beach show me this crab that they had dug up. I was fascinated and thought it reminded me of smaller fiddler crabs I had seen, thanks for your expertise. In addition I thought your other beach photos looked familiar and see you are on Southwest Florida beaches, we are visiting Englewood Beaches, Venice Beaches, Don Pedro and others and these photos remind me of these beaches. What fun!

Jacqueline Carney said...

Thanks Wood Eye. One of my favorite past times is researching what I discover on my beach walks. Southwest Florida is so full of intriguing critters and flora. Now that I am back in Michigan I walk the Rouge River. I can take my dogs there (unlike most Florida beaches) and am still learning about Michigan's environment despite having lived here over sixty years!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. We spent a week at puerto Escondido and the these crabs range in size from millimetres to 6" scurrying across the beach. We saw a "dead" one half buried in the sand so we kicked sand at it and poked at it....yes these crabs can jump straight up!! He must have been playing dead...caused us all to scream and run away. LOL