Ocypode quadrata, also known as O. albicans or the “fleet-footed one of white,” is a secretive alien from the ancient depths of the sea.

Ghost Crabs scavenge the beach here, looking for tasty tidbits. Once a year, when baby sea turtles are hatching out, “Ghosties” enjoy a special feast. They drag the three-inch-long hatchlings down into their underground burrows and devour them.

These crabs are largely nocturnal in nature, mostly feeding at night when visual predators like shore birds and gulls are napping. Today, I caught a rare glimpse of a shy beach scavenger.

Well-camouflaged, eh?

IMG_1147Toni 2/1/14


  1. Ghost Crabs are in that class of creatures that are called Evolutionary Bridges because of how they’ve adapted so well to life on the edge, in this case the edge being the exposed, sandy beach at the ocean’s edge. These guys do it all: eat live stuff, dead stuff, and even “do-the-earthworm” thing by depositing feed, so called, as in passing sand through their mouth parts and extracting the algae nutrients. And! As you so beautifully point out, Toni, they’re lovely. Thanks!


  2. As if the sea turtles don’t have enough enemies!!!!!!! I am so-o-o-o off the sand and back onto frozen ground. Now I can watch the trails of mice under the light snow on the lawn. Where are the hawks when you need them? (See, I’m not against all of nature’s cruelty!) Off for a walk with Maggie before the upcoming week tests my fortitude. M.


  3. Mary, please don’t tell us that you missed the snow and cold. Welcome home.
    Are there”ghostly” crabs or crayfish who live in caves,too????


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