Friday, February 20, 2009
When you look closely at the sand on the beach, you notice that it is made up of millions of small, round sand 'balls' as in the photo above. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.) In some areas, 60-80% of the beach is covered with these sand spheres... in various sizes from the size of tiny candy pearls used to decorate cakes and cookies, up to the size of peas in a pod. They are made by the Ghost Crab or Sand Crab. They are very quick and skittish, and you hardly see them as you walk the beach.
I finally spotted one darting into its hole, so I waited on hands and knees for a few minutes for it to resurface. This one is only three-quarters of an inch long. Its den (the hole on the left side of the picture) is the size of a round pencil. It scrapes the sand in its jaws with the two claw arms and rolls it into a ball as it syphons the water to extract nutrients (I think?) Then it rolls it aside and starts anew. It only takes a couple of seconds to make a sand ball.
Here the crab is ready to roll this sand ball aside. He rolls it behind him using his side legs to kick it out of the way. My camera is only a few of inches from him to take these photos. He had to be wondering what the big black blob was that was hanging over his head!
Click on the photos... He's kinda cute with thoses 'buggy' eyes.
Posted by Jeff at 10:17 AM