Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh, Emerita!

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?


  1. We always call them sand crabs too - but I think they're a little creepy - popping up out of the sand like something out of The Dark Tower series

  2. I am always amazed at God's creativity when I see the diversity!