Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ghost Crabs and Grackles

It is 80 degrees, hot and humid and the flies are biting today, but nonetheless, it is a beautiful day at the beach. The lifeguard stands and boats are out and umbrellas are up and children are frolicking in the high tide waves.

On the shore indentation, between Stites and Brainard, there is a large colony of Atlantic Ghost Crabs (Ocypode quadrata), numbering well over 200 or more. They are very active at this hour of 10:00 a.m. during high tide and just after the full moon, working on their homes, excavating and nibbling food at the tide's edge.

One very large crab brought out a lot of sand and then packed it down using its claws and running back and forth over its mound.

Their tracks in the sand are interesting to observe and it appears that they move from more than one hole and to surrounding holes. It is reported that they usually have one entrance but my observations find something different.

Although it is reported that the younger crabs build their burrows closer to the water, I found both young and older crabs had burrows equal distances to the water line. (http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Ocypode_quadrata/)

I'm surprised to see, also, 2 Boat-tailed Grackles working along the shore line, picking up little shells and eating morsels they find and excitedly flying back and forth as the waves come crashing in.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful day at the beach! Great pictures, cool crab info, hardly any people. Thanks for the great post!