Also known as sand crabs, mole crabs, sand fleas, beach hoppers, and sea pigs. I grew up in southern California, only 20 minutes from the beach, and I always referred to them as sand crabs. As a kid, I would catch them, but that novelty wore off as an adult. It creeps me out to feel them wiggling under my feet. My boys, however, had a blast catching them last summer when we went to CA to visit family. I took this picture of Rick holding one. Here are a few facts about sand crabs, probably more than you care to know ...
- Sand crabs live under the sand in shallow water.
- They live about 2-3 years.
- Females are larger than males.
- Their antennae is used to collect plankton.
- Predators are fish and birds -- and kids!
- They leave a "V" shape in the sand as water recedes.
- Sand crabs can be in groups of dozens to thousands.
- Fishermen use them as live bait.
I don't know for sure, but I'm thinking the one in my picture is a female because of how big it is. That little section on the lower part of the sand crab folds down like a tail and sometimes you can see bright orange eggs under the flap. I didn't go looking, to be honest, but if you really want to see what I'm talking about you can click here. Interesting little critters, that's for sure.
Have you ever caught sand crabs?